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Souihem Digtrict of New- York, m 

BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twvnty-fbuith daj of Jape, A. IX uat, in the 
fifly-third rear of the Independence of the tftdted States of America, Charlee A. Goodrich, 
of the said District, hath aepositcd in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he 
idalms as author, in the wonis following, to wit : — " Lives of the iSignen to the Declaration 
of Independence. Bj the Rev. Charles A. Goodrich." 

In conformity to the act of Congress of the United States, entitled, " an act for the en- 
couragement of teaming, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors 
and proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned." And also to an act, 
entitled, " an act, supplementary to ar act, entitled, an act for the encouragement of learn- 
ing, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of 
mch copies, during the times therem mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to ttie 
•itB of aesigniDgi engiaTing, and etching lustorical and oilier prints." 

Clerk qfthe Soutfiem DUtrict ofNew- York, i 

• • • • •■• • 

_• * 
• . . ^ • • • 

•_- • - • 




Ths author has had it in contemplation for leveral years, to present to the 
public a work of the following^ kind; but, until recently, he has not had lei- 
sure to complete his design. He was incited to the undertaking, by a belief 
that he might render an in^portant service to his countrymen, e^>ecially to 
the rising generation, by giving them, in a volume of convenient size, some 
account of the distinguished buid of patriots, who composed the congress 
of 1776 ; and to whose energy and wisdom the colonies, at thai tirn^ owed 
the declaration of their independ^it political existence. 

No nation can dwell with more just satisfiiction upon its annals^ than 
the American people. The emigrants, who settled tiie country, were illus- 
trious men; distinguished for their piety, wisdom, energy, and fortitude. 
Not less illustrious were their descendants, who served as the guides and 
counsellors of the colonies, or who fought their battles during the revolu- 
tionary struggle. No one who admits the intervention of a special provi- 
dence in the i^aars of nations, can hesitate to believe, that the statesmen and 
heroes of the revolution were raised ujg by the God of heaven, for the impor- 
tant and definite purpose of achie\dng the independence oi America — of 
rescuing a people, whose ancestors haa b^ai eminently devoted to the duties 
of piety, from toe thraldom under which they had groaned for years — and oi 
presenting to the OMXiarchical governments in the eastern hemisphere, the 
example of a government, founded upon principles of civil ana religious 

For the accomplishment of such a purpose, the statesmen and heroes of 
the revolution were eminently fitted. Tiiey were endowed with mmds ol 
distinguished power, and exhibited an example of political sagacity, and 
of high military prowess, ^ich commanded the admiration of st^esmen and 
heroe% throughout the world. Their patriotism was of a pure and exalted 
character ; their zeal was commensurate with the noble objects which they 
had in view ; and amid the toils, and privations, and sufferings, which thev 
were caJled to endure, they exhibited a patience and Ibrtitude, rarely equal- 
led in the history of the world. 

Of the revolutionary patriots, none present themselves with more interest 
to the rising generation, than those who composed tlie congress of 1776; and 
upon whom involved the important political du^ of severixij^ the ties, which 
bound the colonies to the mother country. The lives ox this illustrious 
band, we here present to our readers. Although the author regrets that his 
materials were not more abundant, he indulges the bope^ that the subsequent 
pages will not be found devoid of interest. Even an tmadorned recital of 
the virtues, which adorned the subjects of these memoirs ; the piety of some 
—the patriotism and constancy and courage of them all — can scarcely &il of 
imparting a useful lesson to our readers. The obligations to cherish their 
mei]|{ory, and to follow their example will be felt; nor can our readers f^l 
to recdize the debt of gratitude we owe in commoQ, to that benignant pro- 
vidence, who fitted these men for the important work which was assigned 

All the material fhcta, recorded in the following pages, the author has 
reason to believe are authentic, and entitied to credibuity. Most of them 
are matters of public record. Some of the sketches will indeed be found to 
oontain but few incidents ; because, in respect to a portion of the signers, 
but few existed ; and, in respect to others, the accurate knowledge of them 
has been irrevocably lost. The sources from which he has drawn the materi- 
als of the volume are too numerous to be particularly mentioned in this place; 
Tet he would be doin^ injustice, not to express his special obligations to th€ 
authors of the following works : viz. Pitkin's PoliticiEd and Civil History of 
the United States^ Norm American Review, Walsh's Appeal, Marshall's tdfii 


of Wuhingionj Botta's History of the Revelation, Allen's Biognphical and 
Historical Dictionary, Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Indo- 

esndence, Thatcher's Medical Biography, Austin's Life of Grerry, Tudor's 
ife of Otis, Witherspooa's Works^ Select Eulogies, &c. &c 
While writing' the following- hiographical notices of the signers t6 tho 
declaration, the author has been struck with their longevity^ as a body of 
men. They were fifty-six in number ; and the average length of their fives 
was about sixty-five years. Four of the number attained to the age of 
ninety years, and upwards; fourteen exceeded eighty years; and twenty- 
tiirec, or one in two and a half| reached three score years and ten. The lon- 
gevity of the New-England delegation, was still more remarkable. Their 
number was fourteen, the average of whose lives was seventy*five years. 
Who will affirm that the unusual age to which the sij^ners, as a body, attain- 
ed, was not a reward bestowed iqpon them, for their ndeiity to their country, 
and the trust whioh they in general reposed in the overruling providence of 
God. Who can doubt the kindness d that Providence to the American 
people, in thus prolonging the lives of these men, till the principles for which 
they had contended, tnrough a long series of years, had been acknowledged, 
ana a government!^ been fiDundra upon tiiem? 

Of this venerable body, not a single one Bumves— They are now no 
more. "They are no more, as in 1776, bold and fearless advocat«i of inde- 
pendence, lliey are dead. But how little is there of the great and food 
which can die. To their country they yet live, and live foi ever. Theylive, 
in all that perpetuates the remembranoe of men on earth ; in the recorded 
proofs of their own great actions, in the ofibprin^ of their intellect, in the 
deep engraved lines of public gratitude, and in the req>ect and homasre of 
mankind. They live in their example; and they live, em][>hatically, ana wiU 
live, in the inmience which their lives and efforts, their principles and 
opinions, now exercise, and will continue to exercise, on the affairs of men, 
not only in our own country, but throughout the civilissed world." 

<'It remains to us to cherish their memory, and emulate their virtues, by 
perpetuating and extending the blessings which they have bequeathed. ^ 
long as we preserve our country, their nune cannot die, for it is reflected 
from tiie surface of every thing that is beautiful and valuable in our land. 
We cannot recur too often, nor dwell too long, upnon Uie lives and characters 
of such men; for our own will take something of their form and impression 
from those on which they rest If we inhale uie moral atmosphere in which 
•they moved, we must feel its purifying and invigorating innuence. If we 
raise our thoughts to their elevation, our minds will be expanded and en- 
nobled, in beholding the immeasivable distance beneath and around us. 
* Can we breathe the pure mountain adr, and not be refreshed ; csui we walk 
abroad amidst the beautiful and the grand of the works of creation, and fed 
no kindling of devotion ?' ' 

•Inirodaciiqi^ ••.-.•...*. 7 


John Hancoek, ••----•.-. 7^ 

Samuel Adaim^ •••......,.. 31 

JohnA&sana, -.--•-.-••. g2 

Robert Treat Paiine^ --112 

Elbridge Gerrji '--.----... 12O 


Josiah Bartlett, .*•-. 131 

WilHam Whipple, ,-, I39 

Matthew ThomtoQ, .,... I43 


Stephen Hopkins, .......... 149 

William Ellery, - 163 


Rog'er Sherman, .......... 153 

Samuel Huntington, *..... ..... igg 

William WiHiama, I74 

Oliver Wolcott, ...179 


William Ployd, 181 

Philip Livingston ........ 195 

Francis Lewis, - - - .. >'. . • • 193 

Lewis Morris, --.......«. 197 

Henry Misner, (See note, page 183.) 


Richard Stocktmi, ........... 204 

John Witherspoon, -•*••••..• 2II 

Francis HopkiittKni| •-•.•••••• 222 

John Hart, • •. . . • • • • « . 225 

Abraham Clark^ -••••• .«•• 230 


Robert Morris, -...-••• . 233 

Benjamin Rush, -•....^ • 244 


Benjamin Frankliii, -->-•...... 261 

John Morton, --••-...... 282 

Georg« Clymer, -• .^..••... 284 

James Smitb, ----••••... 291 

G«or«re Taylor, 296 

James WibKn, *---•-.••••. 9QQ 

George Ron, 309 


Caciar Rodnej, •--•••• •• 313 

Gfiorgekead, ..--320 

Thomas M^ean, •-•••..... 323 


Samuel Chase^ *--•--••.•• 333 

William Paoa, ----,•.,... 345 

Thomas Stone^ --•,,,,,.., 35I 

Charles CamU, -•-• .-•.. 367 


George Wythe^ - -364 

Richard Henry Le^ -•••••..•• 372 

Thomas Jefferson, ,•-..•••••. 330 

Benjamin Harrison; ••-..••... 405 

Thomas Nelson, jun. ••-••••.•• 410 

Francis Lightfooi Lee^ 416 

Carter Braxton, --.-••..,. 4x8 


William Hooper, .-.--. ---422 

Joseph Hewes, -.••....... 427 

John Penn, ••........_ 433 


Edward Rutledge, -.... •••- 435 

Thomas Heyward, .•...••.,•. 440 

Thomas Lynch, ••••»••••. 443 

Arthur Middleton, .......••. 447 


Button Gwinnett, ••• ••••« « 452 

Lyman Hall, «.i««««..**«4M 
George WaliOD, .•.••••-•468 





The venerated emigrants who first planted America, and 
most of their distinguished successors who laid the founda- 
tion of our ciril liberty, have found a resting place in the 
peaceful grave. But the virtues which adorned both these 
generations ; their patience in days of suffering ; the courage 
and patriotic zeal with which they asserted their rights ; and 
the wisdom they displayed in laying the foundations of o\a 
government ; will be held in lasting remembrance. 

It has, indeed, been said, that the settlement of America, 
and the history of her revolution, are becoming ''a trite 
theme." The remark is not founded in truth. Too well 
does the present generation appreciate the excellence of 
those men, who guided the destinies of our country in days 
of bitter trial ; too well does it estimate the glorious events, 
which have exalted these United States to their ^present ele- 
vation, ever to be weary of the pages which shall record the 
virtues of the one, and the interesting character of the other. 

The minuter portions of our history, and the humbler 
men who have acted a part therein, must, perhaps, pass into . 
oblivion. But the more important transactions, and the more 
distinguished characters, instead of being lost to the remem- 
brance and affections of posterity, will be the more regarded 
and admired the farther ^* we roll down the tide of time.** 
Indeed, '* an event of real magnitude in human history," an 
a recent literary journal has well observed, «is never.seem 
in all its grandeur and importance, till some time after its oc- 
eorrence has elapsed. In proportion as the memory of smab 


men, and small things, is lost, that of the truly great becomes 
more bright. The contemporary aspect of things is often 
confused and indistinct. The eye, which is placed too near 
the canvass, beholds, too distinctly, the separate touches of 
the pencil, and is perplexed with a cloud of seemingly dis- 
cordant tints. It is only at a distance, that they melt into a 
harmonious, living picture.** 

Nor does a detract from the honour of the eminent peitson 
ages, who were conspicuous in the transactions of our ear- 
lier history, that they foresaw not all the glorious consequences 
of their actions. Not one of our pilgrim fathers, it may be 
safely conjectured, had a distinct anticipation of the future 
progress of our country. Neither Smith, Newport, nor 
Gosnold, who led the emigrants of the south ; nor Carver, 
Brewster, Bradford, or Standish, who conducted those of 
the north ; looked forward to results like those which are 
witnessed by the present generation. But is the glory of 
their enterprise thereby diminished ? By no means ; it shines 
with an intenser light. They foresaw nothing with certainty, 
but hardships and sacrifices. These, they deliberately and 
manfully encountered. They went forward unassured, that 
even common prosperity would attend their enterprise 
They breasted themselves to every shock ; as did the vessel 
which bore them, to the waves of the ocean. 

Or, to take an example which has a more direct reference 
to the work before us ; it may be fairly conjectured, that not 
a member of the illustrious assembly that declared the Inde 
pendence of America, had any adequate conception of the 
great ev,ents which were disclosed in the next half century. 
But, will this detract from their merit in the estimation of 
posterity ? again we say, it will enhance that merit. In the 
great national crisis of 1775, the minds of the leading men were 
wrought up to the highest pitch of fervour. They glowed 
with the loftiest enthusiasm. The future was, indeed, in- 
distinct ; but it was full of all that was momentous. What 
the particular consummation would be, they could not foresee. 
But conscious of their own magnanimous designs, and in a 
humble reliance on divine providence, they pledged to eacb 


Other, their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour, 
either to die in the assertion of their unali^oiable rights, or 
to establish American liberty upon a solid foundation. The 
merit of these men, and of all who contributed to the happy 
condition of our republic, should be measured, by the grau'^ 
deur of the actual consequences of their enterprise, although 
the precise extent of those consequences could not then have 
been foreseen.* 

In a work, whose professed object is, to speak of meii 
who lived and flourished in the days of our revolutionary 
stt^ggle, we have little to do with the motives which indu* 
ced the first settlers of our country to seek an asylum in what 
was then an unexplored wilderness. Nor is this the place to 
record the thousand sufferings which they endured, before 
the era of their landing ; or their numberless sorrows and 
deprivations, while establishing themselves in the rude land 
of their adoption. The heroic and christian virtues of our 
lathers will occupy a conspicuous page in history, while the 
world shall stand. 

Nor does it belong to our design, to enter minutely inio 
^e early history of the colonies, interesting as that history 
is. An outline, only, will be necessary, to understand the 
causes of that memorable event in the, history of our coun- 
try — The Declaration of American Independence — and to 
introduce to our more particular notice, the eminent men 
who proclaimed that independence to the world. 

The year 1607 is the era of the first settlement of the En- 
glish in America. During the interval between this date» 
and the year 1732, thirteen colonies were established ; Vir- 
ginia being the first, and Georgia the last. The others were 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New-Hampshire, Rhode Island, 
New- York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, 
and the two Carolinas. 

In the settlement of these colonies, tbjree forma of govern- 
ment were established. These were severally denominatedf 
charter, proprietary, and royal governments. TUb differ 

* North Amerioaii Review. 




ence arose from the diiSerent circumstances which attendee 
the settlement of different colonies, and the diversified viewi 
of the early emigrants. The charter governments were con- 
fined to New-England. The proprietary governments were 
those of Maryland, Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, and the Jer- 
sies. The two former remained such, until the American re- 
volution ; the two latter became royal govemifnents long be- 
fore that period. In the charter governments, the people en- 
joyed the privileges and powers of self government ; in the 
proprietary governments these privileges and powers were ves t- 
ed in the proprietor, but he was required to have the advice^ 
assent^ and approbation of the greater part of the freemen, or 
their deputies ; in the royal governments, the governor and 
council were appointed by the crown, and the people elect- 
ed representatives to serve in the colonial legislatures.* 

Under these respective forms of government, the colonists 
might have enjoyed peace, and a good share of liberty, had 
human nature been of a different character. But all the co- 
lonies were soon more or less involved in troubles of vari- 
ous kinds, arising, in part, from the indefinite tenor of the 
charter and proprietary grants ; but more than all, from the 
early jealousy which prevailed in the mother country with 
respect to the colonies, and the fixed determination of the 
crown to keep them in humble subjection to its authority. 

The colonies, with the exception of Georgia, had all been 
established, and had attained to considerable strength, with- 
out even the slightest aid from the parent country. What- 
ever was expended in the acquisition of territory from the 
Indians^ proceeded from the private resources of the Euro- 
pean adventurers. Neither the crown, nor the parliament 
of England, made any compensation to the original masters 
of the soil; nor did they in any way contribute to those im- 
provements which so soon bore testimony to the industry and 
Mtilligence of the planters. The settlement of the province 
of Massachusetts Bay alone cost 200,000Z. ; — an enormous , 
sum at that period. Lord Baltimore expended 40,000/., for 

• Pitkixk 


his contingent^ in the establishment of his colony in Blarj- 
iand. On that of Virginia, immense wealth was lavished ; 
and we are told by Trumbull, that the first planters of Con* 
necticut consumed great estates in purchasing lands from the 
Indians, and making their settlements in that province, in ad- 
dition to large sums previously expended in the procuring of 
their patents, and of the rights of pre-emption.* 

It is conceded by historians of every party, that from the 
earliest settlements in America, to the period of the revolu- 
tion, the parent country, so far as her own unsettled state 
would permit, pursued towards those settlements a course 
of direct oppression. Without the enterprise to establish co- 
lonies herself, she was ready, in the v^ry dawn of their exist- 
ence, to claim them as her legitimate possessions, and to pre- 
scribe, in almost every minute particular, the policy they 
should pursue. Her jealousies, coeval with the foundation 
of the colonies, increased with every succeeding year ; and 
led to a course of arbitrary exactions, and lordly oppressions^ 
which resulted in the rupture of those ties that bound the 
colonies to the parent country. 

No sooner did the colonies, emerging from the feebleness 
and poverty of their incipient state, begin to direct their at- 
tention to commerce and manufactures, than they were sub- 
jected by the parent country to many vexatious regulations, 
which seemed to indicate, that with regard to those subjects, 
they were expected to follow that line of policy, which she 
in her wisdom should mark out for them. At every indica- 
tion of colonial prosperity, the complaints of the commercial 
and the manufacturing interests in Great Britain were loud 
and clamourous, and repeated demands were made upon the 
British government, to correct the growing evil, and to keep 
the colonies in due subjection. ^* The colonists," said the 
complainants, " are beginning to carry on trade ; — they will 
soon be our formidable rivals : they are already setting up 
manufactures ; — they will soon set up for independence.' 

To the increase of this feverisn excitement in the parent 

* Walah 


conntryy the Ihglish writers of those days contributed not a 
Uttle. As eariy as 1670, in a work, entitled, '< Discourse on 
Trade," published by Sir Josiah Child, is the following Ian 
guAge, which expresses the prevailing opinion of the day : 
^ New England is the most prejudicial plantation to this king- 
dom*' — '^ of all the American plantations, his majesty has 
none so apt for the building of shipping, as New-England, 
nor any comparably so qualified for the breeding of seamen, 
not only by reason of the natural industry of that people, 
but principally by reason of their cod and mackerel fishe- 
ries ; and, in my poor opinion, there is nothing more prejudi* 
cial, and in prospect, more dangerous to any mother kingdom, 
than the increase of shipging in her colonies^ phtntations^ and 

By another writer of still more influence and celebrity. 
Dr. Darenant, the idea of colonial dependences at which Sir 
Josiah Child had hinted, was broadly asserted. *' Colonies,** 
he writes, **are a strength to their mother country, while they 
are under good discipline ; while they are strictly made to 
observe the fundamental laws of the original country ; and 
while they are kept dependant on it^ But, otherwise, they 
are worse than members lopped from the body politic ; be- 
ing, indeed, like oflensive arms wrested from a nation, to be 
turned against it, as occasion shall serve.*' 

To the colonists, however, the subject presented itself in 
a very different light They had spontaneously planted them- 
selves on these shores, which were then desolate. They had 
asked no assistance from the government of Great Britain ; 
nor had they drawn from her exchequer a single pound, du- 
ring all the feebleness and imbecility of their infancy. And 
now, when they were beginning to emerge from a state of 
poverty and depression, which for years they had sustained 
without complaint, they very naturally supposed that they 
had a right to provide for their own interests. 

It was not easy for them to see by what principle their re- 
moval to America should deprive them of the rights of En- 
glishmen. It was difficult for them to comprehend the justice 
of restrictions so materially different from those at ''home;** 



Or why they migh^ not equally with their elder brethren in 
England, seek the best markets for their products, and, like 
them, manufacture such articles as were within their power^ 
and essential to their comfort. 

But the selfish politicians of England, and her still more 
selfish merphants and manufacturers, thought not so. A dif- 
ferent doctrine was accordingly advanced, and a different 
policy pursued. Acts were, therefore, early passed, restrict** 
ing the trade with the plantations, as well as with other parts 
of the world, to English-built ships, belonging to the subjects 
of England, or to her plantations. Not contented with thus 
confining the colonial export trade to the parent country, 
parliament, in 1663, limited the imj^rt trade in the same 

These acts, indeed, left free the trade and intercourse be- 
tween the colonies. But even this privilege remained to them 
only a short period. In 1672, certain colonial products, trans<* 
ported from one colony to another, were subjected to duties. 
White sugars were to pay five shillings, and brown sugars 
jne shilling and sixpence, per hundred ; tobacco and indigo 
me penny, and cotton wool a half-penny, per pound. 

The colonists deemed these acts highly injurious to theii 
interest. They were deprived of the privilege of seeking 
the best market for their products, and of receiving, in ex« 
change, the articles they wanted, without being charged the 
additional expense' of a circuitous route through England* 
rhe acts themselves were considered by some as a violation 
of their charter rights ; and in Massachusetts, they were, for 
a long time, totally disregarded. 

The other colonies viewed them in the same light Yirgi* 
nia presented a petition for their repeal ; Rhode Island de- 
clared them unconstitutional, and contrary to their charter* 
The Carolinas, also, declared them not less grievous and 

The disregard of these enactments on the part of the co* 
lonies — a disregard which sprung from a firm conviction of 
their illegal and oppressive characters-occasioned loud an i 
clamorous complaints in England* Tlie rercnuey it was urged 




would be injured ; and the dependancc ^f the colonies oa 
Ae parent 'country would, in time, be totally destroy- 
ed. A stronger language was, therefore, held towards the 
colonies, and stronger measures adopted, to enforce the 
existing acts of navigation. The captains of his majesty's 
frigates were instructed to seize, and bring in, offenders who 
avoided making entries in England. The naval officers were 
required to give bonds for the faithful performance of their 
duties ; the custom house officers in America were clothed 
with extraordinary powers ; and the governors, for neglect 
erf watchfulness on these points, were not on|y to be removed 
from office, and rendered incapable of the government of any 
colony, but also to forfeit one thousand pounds. 
A similar sensibility prevailed, on the subject of TnanufaC" 

I tares. For many y^ars after their settlement, the colonists 
were too much Occupied in subduing dieir lands to engage in 
manufactures. When, at length, they turned their attention 
to them, the varieties were few, and of a coarse and imper- 
fect texture. But even these were viewed with a jealous eye. 
In 1699, commenced a systematic course of restrictions on 
colonial manufactures, by an enactment of parliament, " that 
no wool, yarn, or woollen manufactures of their American , 
plantations, should be shipped there, or even laden, in order 
to be transported thence to any place whatever." 

Other acts followed, in subsequent years, having for their 
object the suppression of manufactures iH America, and the 
continued dependance of the colonies on the parent country. 
[n 1719, the house of commons declared, '* that the erecting 
of manufactories in the colonies, tended to lessen their de- 
pendance upon Great Britain." In 1731, the board of trade 
reported to the house of commons, '' that there are more 
trades carried on, and marufactures set up, in the provinces 
on the continent of America, to the northward of Virginia, 
prejudicial to the trade and manufactures of Great Britain, 
particularly in New-England, than in any other of the Bri- 
tish colonies ;" and hence they suggested, " whether it 

• might not be expedient," in order to keep the colonies pro- 
perly dependant upon the parent country, and to render her 


Hianutactarefl of service to Great BrUaifh **to give those co« 
lonies some encouragei»ent." 

From the London company of hatters loud complaints 
were made to parliament, and suitable restrictions demanded, 
upon the exportation of hats, which being manufactured in 
New-England, were exported to Spain, Portugal, and the 
British West India islands, to the serious injury of their 
trade. In consequence of these representations, the expor- 
tation of hats from the colonies to foreign countries, and 
from one plantation to another, was prohibited; and even 
restraints, to a certain extent, were imposed on their manu-^ 
faeture. In 1732 it was enacted, that hats should neither be 
shipped* nor even laden upon a horse, cart, or other carriage, 
Fith a view to transportation to any other colony, or to any 
place whatever. Nay, iio hatter should employ more than 
two apprentices at once, nor make hats, unless he had served 
as an apprentice to the trade seven years ; and, finally, that 
no black or negro should be allowed to work at the business 
at all. ^ 

The complaints and the claims of the nutnufacturers of 
iron were of an equally selfish character. The colomsts 
might reduce the iron ore into pigs — they might convert it 
Into bars — ^it might be furnished them duty free ; but they must 
have the profit of manufacturing it, beyond this incipient 
9tage. Similar success awaited the representations and peti- 
tions of the manufacturers of iron. In tl)e year 1750, par- 
liament allowed the importation of pig and bar iron from 
the colonies, into London, duty free; but prohibited the 
erection or continuance of any milU or other engine^ for 
slitting or rolling iron, or any plating forge to work with 
a tilt-hammer, or any furnace for making steel, in the colo- 
nies, tmder the penalty of two hundred, pounds. Moreover, 
every such mill, engine, or plating forge, was declared a com* 
man nuisance ; and the governors of the colonies, on the . 
information of two witnesses, on oath, were directed to cause 
the same to be abated within thirty days, or to forfeit the 
sum of five hundred pounds. 

But if the colonists had just reason to complain on account 


of the above restrictions and prohibitioni, — as being ex« 
tremelj oppressive in themselves, and a plain violation of 
their rights ; — some of them were equally misused with re 
spect to their charters. 

The charter governments, it has already been observed, 
were confined to the colonies of New-England. These 
-charters had been granted by the crown in different years; and, 
under them, were exercised the powers of civil government. 

Great difference of opinion early existed between the 
crown and the colonists, as to the nature, extent, and obliga« 
tions of these instruments. By the crown^ they were viewed 
as constituting petty corporations, similar to those established 
in England, which might be annulled or revoked at pleasure. 
To the colonists^ on the other hand, they appeared as sacred 
and solemn compacts between themselves and the king; 
which could not be altered, either by the king or parliament, 
without a forfeiture on the part of the colonists. The only 
limitation to the legislative power conferred by these char^ 
ters, was, that the laws made under their authority should 
Tkot he repugnant to those of England. 

Among the colonists, there prevailed no disposition to 
transcend the powers, or abuse the privileges, which had 
been granted them. They, indeed, regarded the charters as 
irrevocable, so long as they suitably acknowledged their own 
allegiance to the crown, and confined themselves to the 
rights with which they were invested. But, at length, the 
king seems to have repented of these extensive grants of 
political power ; and measures were adopted again to attach 
the government of the charter colonies to the royal prero* 

Accordingly, vnits were issued against the several New- 
England colonies, at different times, requiring them to sur- 
render these instruments into the royal hands. To this 
measure the strongest repugnance every where prevailed. 
It was like a surrender of life. It was a blow aimed at their 
dearest rights — ^an annihilation of that peace and liberty, 
which had been secured to them by the most solemn and in* 
violable compact 


VTiih views and sentfinents like these, the eolonists svppli- 
eated the royal permission, *^ to remain as they were.'* They 
reminded his majesty of the sacred nature of their charters i 
they appealed to the laws which they had passed, — ^to the in* 
stitutions they had founded, — to the regulations they had 
adopted, — ^in the spirit of which, there was not to be seen any 
departure from the powers with which they were invested. 
And they therefore humbly claimed the privilege of exerci* 
sing these po'wers, with an assurance of their unalterable aUe« 
giance to the English crown. , 

In an address to his majesty, from the colony ofMassacfausettSi 
styled, " the humble supplication of the general court of the 
Massachusetts colony in New-England,^ the foUowiag lanr 
guage was adopted — slanguage as honourable to the colonists, 
as the sentiments are tender and affecting. ** Let our govern* 
ment live, our patent live, our magistrates Uve, our laws and 
liberties live, our religious enjoyments live» so shall we aU 
yet have further cause to say from our hearts, let the king lim 
forever ;^-9Jkdi the blessiugs of those ready to perish shall 
come upon your majesty ; having delivered the poor thai 
cried, and such as had none to help them." 

The king, however, would listen to no arguments, and 
would admit of no appeaL A strong jealousy had taken 
possession of his breast, and had as firmly seated itself in the 
hearts of his ministry. The tree, planted by the colonists, 
fostered by their care, and watered by their tears, waateking 
too deep root, and spreading forth its branches too broadly. 
Its fall was determined upon, and too successfully was the 
axe applied. 

The charters being in efect set aside ; those of Rhode Is* 
land and Connecticut being considered as surrendered, and 
that of Massachusetts having been violently wrested from 
her; the king, at that time James IL, appointed Sir Edmund 
Andros governor-general of New-England. In December* 
1686, be arrived in Boston, and published his commission. 

The administration of Andros effected no inconsiderable 
change in the condition of New-England, ^or sixty yean 
the people had lived happily, under constitutions and laws of 
C 2* 


their own adoption. Amidst the trials and snfferings which 
had fallen to their lot^ while settling and suhduing a wilder* 
ness, the privilege of self-government was one of their chief 
consolations* But now, deprived of this privilege, and sub* 
iected to the arbitrary laws, and cruel rapacity of Andros, a 
deep gloom spread over the whole territory of New-England. 

** One of his first despotic acts,*' says a late interesting 
writer,* *' was to place the press under censorship. Magis* 
trates alone were permitted to solemnize marriages, and no 
« marriages were allowed, until bonds, with sureties, were 
given to the governor, to be forfeited, if any lawful impediment 
should afterwards appear. No man could remove from the 
country without the consent of the governor. 

'* Fees of office, particularly in matters of probate, were 
exorbitant ;-7-towns were not permitted to hold meetings but 
once a year, and then for the sole purpose of electing offi- 
cers ;-^-all former grants of lands were considered invalid, 
either because they were rendered void by the destruction of 
the charters under which they were made, or were destitute 
of the formality of a seal. The people were, therefore, 
obliged to take out new patents for their lands and houses, 
and to pay enormous patent fees, or suffer them to be grant* 
ed to others^ and they themselves ejected from their hard 
earned possessions. 

^In addition to this, taxes were imposed at the will of the 
governor-general and a few of his council ; nor had the poor 
New-Englanders even the privilege of complaining, andclaim* 
ing the rights of Englishmen, without being liable to fine and 
imprisonment. These taxes the governor and council, by 
their act, assessed upon the several towns, and directed each 
town to appoint a commissioner, who, with the select men« 
was ordered to assess the same on the individual inhabitants. 
The citizens of the old town of Ipswich, at a meeting called 
for the purpose of carrying this act into effect, declared, that, 
"considering the said act doth infringe their liberty, as/ree 
bam English subjects of his majesty, by interfenng with the 



statute laws of the land, by which it is enacted, that no taxe^ 
should be levied upon the subjects, without the consent of an 
assembly chosen by the freemen for assessing the same ; they 
do, therefore, vote, they are not willing to choose a commis* 
sioner for such an end, without such privilege ; and, moreo* 
▼er, consent not that the select men do proceed to lay any 
such rate, until it be appointed by a general assembly, con- 
curring with the governor and council." 

*' The minister of the town, John Wise, together with John 
Appleton, John Andrews, Robert Kinsman, William Good- 
hue, and Thomas French, were active in procuring this patrio* 
tic resolution ; and for this, they were immediately brought 
before the governor and council at Boston ; and soon a^er 
tried before the star chamber judges, Dudley, Btoughton, 
Usher, and Randolph, and a packed jury. In his examination 
before the council, Mr. Wise, claiming die privilege of an 
English subject, was told by one of the judges, * he had na 
more privilege left himj than not to be sold for a slaveJ* 

'< Wise was imprisoned by the governor general ; and the 
judges refused him the privilege of the writ of habeas 

" On their trial, they defended themselves under magna 
charta, and the statutes, which solemnly secured to ei^ery 
British subject his property and estate. The judges, how- 
ever, told them, * they must not think the laws of England 
followed them to the ends of the earth, or wherever they 
went;' and they were in a most arbitrary manner con- 

*^ Mr. Wise was suspended from his ministerial functions, 
fined 50Z., and compelled to give a bond of lOOOZ. for his 
good behaviour ; and the others were also subjected to fines, 
and obliged to give bonds of a similar nature." 

Such is an outline of the despotic acts, during the odious 
administration of Andros. To these the people of New- 
England were obliged to submit, without the prospect of any 
alleviation of their condition. 

Relief, however, was near at hand. At this important 
crisis in the affairs of the colonies, an event transpired which 


relieved them in a measure from the perplexities in whieli 
they were involved, and from the oppressions under which 
they groaned. The higotted James U., by his acts of des-/ 
potism, had become justly odious to all the subjects of his 
realm. So great was the excitement of public indignation* 
that the king was compelled to flee, in disgrace, from the 
kingdom; and his son-in-law, William, Prince of OrangOt 
was invited to assume the crown. 

The news of this event (1689) spread unusual joy through- 
out the colonies. In the height of their animation, the in- 
habitants of Boston seized Sir Edmund Andros, with fifty of 
his associates, and put them in close confinement, until he 
was ordered back to Great Britain. Connecticut and Rhode 
Island immediately resumed their charters, and re-established 
their former government. Massachusetts soon after obtained 
a new charter, which, however, failed to secure to the colony 
many rights, which they had enjoyed under the provisions 
of the former one; but which was finally accepted by a 
majority of the general court £ach of the colonies con- 
tinued to exercise its government till the year 1775* In 
Rhode Island, the ancient charter is the only constitution at 
the present time ; and in Connecticut, the charter was con- 
tinued until the year 1816, when a new constitution was 
adopted by the people. 

The grateful relief experienced by the colonies on the 
accession of William, was, however, of temporary continu- 
ance. Through other channels, trouble and distress were to 
be conveyed to them. From the above year (1689) to the 
peace of Paris 1763, the colonies, from New-Hampshire to 
Georgia, were engaged in almost unremitting hostilities with 
the aborigines on their border^. Their whole western fron- 
tier was a scene of havoc and desolation. During this long 
series of years, they were obliged to bear the " unworthy as- 
persion," as Dummer justly entitles it, of exciting these Indian 
wars ; and of acquiring the dominion of the Indian territory 
by fraud, as well as by force. 

To these trials were added others, which proceeded from 
the psrent country. Dispute^ were frequently arising, as 


heretofore, between the crown and the colonies, respecting 
the powers conferred by the charters. Claims were set up» 
by the king and council, to the right of receiving and hear- 
ing appeals from the colonial courts, in private suits ; and, 
at length, a serious and protracted controversy arose in those 
colonies, whose governors were appointed by royal autho- 
rity, from a requisition of the king that a fixed and peV' 
manent salary should be provided for the representatives of 
the crown. This was a favourite project of the king, as it 
carried the show of authority on the part of the royal gO" 
▼emment, and of dependence on the part of the colonies ; 
and it was an object of no less importance to the governors 
themselves, the most of whom were sent to America to 
repair fortunes which had been ruined by extravagance at 

The disputes on this subject, in the province of Massa 
chusetts, lasted thirty years. The assembly of that colony 
were ready to make grants for the support of their governors, 
from year to year, as they had been accustomed to do, imder 
their charter government ; but no menaces could induce them 
to establish a permanent salary. At length, satisfied that the 
house would never yield, the crown allowed their governors 
to ratify temporary grants. 

Another grievance which the colonies suffered during this 
period, and of which they had reason loudly to complain, 
was the conduct of the parent country, in transporting to 
America those persons, who for &eir crimes had forfeited 
dieir liberty and lives in Great Britain. Various acts of par- 
liament authorized this measi^; and hence the country was 
becomii^ the asylum of the worst of felons. The conduct of 
the parent country, in thus sending the pestilential inmates of 
her prisons to the colonies, met with their strong and univer- 
sAl abhorrence ; nor was this abhorrence lessened by the reo- 
sons assigned, beyond the waters, for the practice, viz, 
** that in many of his majesty's colonies and plantations, there 
was a great want of servants, who, by their labour and indus- 
try, might be the means of improving^ and making the said 
colonies more useful to Ms majesty P* 


'* Very surprising/' remarks an independent, and even elo 
qnent writer o£ those times, ''very surprising that thieves* 
burglars, pick-pockets, and cut-purses, and a horde of the 
most flagitious banditti upon earth, should be sent as agreeO' 
ble companions to us ! That the supreme legislature did intend 
a transportation to America as a punishment, I verily be- 
lieve ; but so great is the mistake, that confident I am, they 
are thereby on the contrary highly rewarded. For what can 
be more agreeable to a penurious wretch, driven through ne- 
cessity to seek a livelihood by the breaking of houses and 
robbing upon the king's highway, than to be saved from the 
halter, redeemed from the stench of a gaol, and transported, 
without expense to himself, into a country, where, being un- 
known, no man can reproach him for his crimes ; where la- 
bour is high, a little of which will maintain him ; and where all 
his expenses will be moderate and low. There is scarce a thiei 
in England that would not rather be transported than hanged." 

'' But the acts," continues the same writer, '* are intended for 
the better pe(Tpling of the colonies. And will thieves and 
murderers conduce to that end? what advantage can we reap 
from a colony of unrestrainable renegadoes ? will they exalt 
the glory of the crown ? or rather will not the dignity of the 
most illustrious monarch in the world be sullied by a province 
of subjects so lawless, detestable, and ignorant ? can agricul- 
ture be promoted, when the wild boar of the forest breaks 
down our hedges, and pulls up our vines ? will trade flourish, 
or manufactures be encouraged, where property is made the 
spoil of such, who are too idle to work, and wicked enough 
to murder and steal ? — How injurious does it seem to free 
one part of the dominions from the plagues of mankind, and 
cast them upon another ! We want people, 'tis true ; but not 
villains, ready at any time, encouraged by impunity, and ha- 
bituated, upon the slightest occasion, to cut a man's throat for 
a small part of his property." 

To this catalogue of grievances, not imaginary, but real ; 
not transient, but long continued ; not local, but mostly uni- 
versal ; — many .others might be added, did our limits permit 

But under all these oppressions, amidst obstinate and va- 


fiotis efforts of die crown, to extend the royal prerogative, 
and to keep the colonies in humble dependence, they retained^ 
in general, a warm affection for the parent country. They re- 
garded the Borereign as a father, and themselves as children. 
They acknowledged their obligations of obedience to him, in 
all things which were lawful, and consistent with their natural 
and imalienable rights ; and they appealed to him in various 
disputes, which arose about colonial rights, limits, and juris* 

It was a characteristic trait in the colonists to provide for 
their own defence. They had been taught to do this by the 
neglect of the parent country, from the very days of their in- 
£iney — even before the proftem was solved, whether the 
country should longer continue the domain of pagan dark* 
ness, or the empire of cultivated mind. They might, indeed 
iustly have claimed the assistance and protection of the land 
of their birth, but seldom did they urge their rights. On the 
contrary, their treasuries were often emptied, and the blood 
of their yeomanry shed, in furnishing assistance to the parent 
country. In her contests, and her wars, they engaged with all 
the enthusiasm of her native sons ; and persevered with aD 
the bravery of soldiers trained to the art of war. 

The testimony to be adduced in support of these statements, 
is more ample than we have space to devote to it. '^ When- 
ever," said a conspicuous member of parliament, some years 
after the peace of 1763, ^'whenever Great Britain has de- 
clared war, the colonies have taken their part : They were 
engaged in King William's wars, and Queen Anne's wars, 
even in their infancy. They conquered Arcadia, in the last 
century, for us ; and we then gave it up. Again, in Queen 
Anne's War, they conquered Nova Scotia, which from that 


time has belonged to Great Britain.' They have been engaged 
in more than one expedition to Canada, ever foremost to par- 
take of honour and danger with the mother country. 

^ Well, sir, what have we done for them ? Have we con- 
quered the country for them, from the Indians ? Have we 
cleared it? Have we drained it ? Have we made it habita- 
ble ? What have we done for them ? I believe precisely 

2i utnopvcnov. 

nothing at all, but just keeping watch and ward oter ihtir 
trade^ that they should receive nothing hut from ourselves^ at 
our own price. 

'^ I will not positively saj, that we hare spent nothing; 
though I don't recollect any such article upon our journals ; 
I mean uiy national expense in setting them out as colonists^ 
The royal military government of Nova Scotia cost, indeed, 
not a little sum; above 600,000Z. for its plantations and its 
first years. Had your other colonies cost any thing similar, 
either in their outset or support, there would be something to 
say on that side ; but instead of that, they have been left to 
themselves, for one hundred, or one hundred and fifty years, 
upon the fortune and cdpital <^ private adventurers, to en- 
counter every difficulty and danger. What towns have we 
built for them ? What forests have we cleared? What country 
have we conquered for them from the Indians ? Name the 
officers — ^name the troops — ^the expeditions — their dates. — 
Where are they to be found T Not on the journals of this 
kingdom. They are no where to be found. 

'* In all the wars, which have been common to us and them, 
they have taken their full share. But in all their own dangers, 
in the difficulties belonging separately to their situation, in 
all the Indian wars, which did not immediately concern us^ 
we left them to themselves, to struggle their way through. 
For the whim of a minister, you can bestow half a million to 
build a town, and to plant a royal colony of Nova Scotia ; a 
greater sum than you have bestowed upon every other colony 

*' And, notwithstanding all these, which are the real facts, 
now that they have struggled through their difficulties, and 
begin to hold up their heads, and to shew an empire, whidi 
promises to be foremost in the world, we claim tliem, and 
dieirs, as implicitly belonging to us, without any conside- 
ration of their own rights. We charge them with ingrati- 
tude, without the least regard to truth, just as if this kingdom 
had for a century and a half attended to no other subject ; as 
if aU our revenwe, all our power« all our thought, had been 
bestowed upon them, and all our national debt bad been con- 


%i acted in the Indian wars of America ; totally forgetting the 
subordination in commerce and manufactures in which we 
have hound them, and for which, at least, we owe them help 
towards their protection. 

'' Look at the preamble of the act of navigation, and every 
other American act, and see if the interest of this country is 
not the avowed object* If they make a hat, or a piece of 
steel, an act of parliament calls it a nuisance ; a tilting ham- 
mer, a steel furnace, must be abated in America, as a nui- 
sance. Sir, I speak from facts. I call your books of statutes 
and journals to witness." 

Of an equally high and honourable character, is the testi- 
mony of Pounal, one of the royal governors in America. ^' I 
profess," said he, in 1765| ** an affection for the colonies, be- 
cause, having lived amongst those people in a private as well 
as in a public character, I know them ; I know that in their 
private, social relations, there is not a more friendly, and in 
their political ones, a more zealously loyal people, in all his 
majesty's dominions. When fairly and openly dealt with* 
there is nota people who have a truer sense of the necessary 
powers of government. They would sacrifice their dearest 
intercists for the honour and prosperity of their mother coun- 
try. I have a right to say this, because experience has given 
me a practical knowledge, and this impression of them. 

*' The duty of a colony is affection for the mother country. 
Here I may affirm, that in whatever form and temper this 
affection can lie in the human breast, in that form, by the 
deepest and most permanent affection, it ever did lie in the 
breast of the American people. They have no other idea of 
this country, than as their home ; they have no other word 
by which to express it ; and till of late, it has constantly been 
expressed by the name of home. That powerful affection, 
the love of our native country, which operates in every breast, 
operates in this people towards England, which theyconsider 
as their native country ; nor is this a mere passive impres 
sion, a mere opinion in speculation — ^it has been wrought up 
in them to a vigilant and active zeal for the service of this 

D 3 


This affection for the parent country, and derotedness t6 
her interests ; this promptneiss to assist her; though unassisted 
hy her themselves ; this liberality in emptying their treasurieB, 
and shedding their blood, were felt and cherished by the colo* 
nies, before, and for years afler, the peace of 1763. They 
continued to be thus cherii^hed, and thus manifested, until 
exactions and oppressions '* left not a hook to hang a doubt 
on," that they must either passively submit to the arbitrary 
impositions of a Jealous and rapacious parent, or rise in 
defence of those rights, which had been given to them by the 
God of nature, in common with his other children. 

The peace of 1763, while it secured to Great Britain all the 
country east of the Mississippi, and annihilated the French 
power in America, restored peace to the colonies, and put an 
end to the calamities of a French and Indian war, by which 
they had been harrassed for nearly a century. The joy con- 
sequent upon an event so auspicious, was universal and sincere. 
But that joy was soon to be diminished by the agitation of the 
question, in England, as to the taxation of the colonies. 

The project of laying internal taxes upon the American 
provinces, and drawing a revenue from them, had been sug- 
gested to the ministry, during the administrations of Sir Ro- 
bert Walpole and Mr. Pitt. But to these wise and sagacious 
statesmen it appeared to be a measure of doubtful right, and 
of still more doubtful policy. " I will leave the taxation, of 
the Americans,*' said Walpol^ ** for some of my successors, 
who may have more courage than I have, and are less friendly 
to commerce than I am." 

After the termination of the French war, the consideration 
of the subject was renewed, and that moment seized as a fa* 
vourable one, to commence the operation of the systenib 
During the war, a heavy debt had been incurred by Great 
Britain, for the benefit and prbtection, as it was said, of the 
American colonies. It was, therefore, no more than an act 
df justice, that they should assist in the pajrment of that debt* 

In the winter of 1764, Lord Grenville, who had "recently 
been elevated to the premiership, announced to the agents of 
the colonies, then in England, his intention of drawing a re* 


Tenue from thenii aod that, for this purpose, he should proposet 
in the ensuing session of parliament, a duty on stamps. 

This intention of the minister being communicated to the 
colonies, the whole country immediately caught the alarm. 
Not only among private citizens, but also among public and 
corporate bodies, the same feeling of indignation prevailed ; 
the same opinion of the injustice and unconstitutional charac* 
ter of the proposed measure was expressed, and the same dis- 
position to resist it exhibited. 

The house of representatives, in Massachusetts, in the fol< 
lowing June, declared, *' That the sole right of giving and 
granting the money of the people of that province, was 
vested in thent^ or their representatives ; and that the imposi- 
tion of duties and taxes by the parliament of Great Britain, 
upon a people Tmt represented in the house of commons, is. 
absolutely irreconcilable with their rights. That no man can 
justly take the property of another, without his consent; upon 
which original principles, the power of making laws for levy- 
ing taxes, one of the main pillars of the British constitution, u 
evidently founded." 

Petitions, from several of the colonies, were immediately 
prepared, and forwarded to their agents in England, to be 
presented at the approaching meeting of parliament, when 
the contemplated measure was to be brought forward. The 
language of these petitions, though respectful, was in accord- 
ance with the spirit which pervaded the country. They 
acknowledged the right of parliament to regulate tradct but 
would not for a moment admit the existence of a right in the 
mother country, to impose duties for the purpose of a revenue. 
They did not claim this exemption as a privilege; they 
founded it on a basis more honourable and solid ; it was chal- 
lenged as their indefeasible ng*^. 

The above petitions reached England in season, and were 
offered to the acceptance and consideration of parliament : 
But no intreatiea of the agents, could induce that body even to 
veceive them; on the twofold ground, that the petitioners ques- 
tioned the right of parliament to pass the contemplated bill ; 
and, moreover, it was an ancient standing rule of the housOf 


•* that no petition should be received against a money bill.''* 
In the house of commons, the bill passed, by the large ma- 
jority of 250 to 60, In the house of lords, the vote was nearly 
unanimous ; and on the 22d of March, (1765,) it received the 
royal sanction. 

By the act thus passed, duties were imposed not only on 
most of the written instruments used in judicial and com- 
mercial proceedings ; but also upon those which were neces- 
"sary in the ordinary transactions of the colonies. Deeds, in- 
dentures, pamphlets, newspapers, advertisements, almanacs, 
and even degrees conferred by seminaries of learning, were 
among the enumerated articles on which a tax was laid. 

The discussions on the above bill, before its final passage, 
were unusually animated. The principle involved in it was 
felt to be important, both by its friends and opposers ; and 
the measure was seen to be pregnant with consequences of the 
most serious nature. "It may be doubted," says an historian,* 
•* whether, upon any other occasion, either in times past or 
present, there has been displayed more vigour or acuteness of 
intellect, more love of country, or of party spirit, or greater 
splendour of eloquence, than in these debates. Nor was the 
shock of opinion less violent without the walls of Westmin- 
ster. All Europe, it may be said, and especially the commer- 
ciaI countries, were attentive to the decision of this important 

The principal supporters of the bill were Lord Grenville 
and Charles Townshend. Unfortunately for the colonies, Mr. 
Pitt, their constant friend, was absent ; being confined to his 
bed by sickness. The principal opposers, were Gen. Conway, 
Alderman Beckford, Col. Barre, Mr. Jackson, and Sir William 
Meredith. The two first of these opposed the measure on 
the ground that parliament had no right to tax the colonies ; 
the others contended that it was not expedient. 

In the conclusion of one of his speeches on the bill, Mr. 
Townshend exclaimed : " And now, will these Americans, 
planted by our care, nourished up by our indulgence, until they 

* Botta. 


are grown to a degree of strength and importance, and protected 
by our arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to re - 
lieye us from the heavy burden we lie under !" 

The honourable member had no sooner taken his seat, than 
CoL Barre rose, and replied : **They planted by your care. 
No, your oppression planted them in America. They fled 
from your tyranny, to a then uncultirated and inhospitable 
country, where they were exposed to almost all the hardships^ 
to which human nslture is liable, and among others, to the 
cruelties of a savage foe; the most subtle, and I will take upon 
me to say, the most formidable, of any people upon the fkceof 
God's earth ; and yet actuated by principles of tine English 
liberty, they met all hardships with pleasure, compared with 
those they suffered in their own country, from the hands of 
those who should have been their friends. 

" They nourished by your indulgence 1 They grew by yotar 
neglect of them. As soon as you began to take care of them, 
that care was exercised in sending persons to rule them in one 
department and another, who were deputies of deputies to 
some members of this house, sent to prey upon them ; men, 
whose behaviour, on many occasions, has.cansed the blood of 
those sons of liberty to recoil within them ; men promoted to 
the highest seats of justice, some, to my knowledge, were glad 
by going to a foreign country, to escape being brought to a 
bar of justice in their own. 

" They protected by your arms ! They have nobly taken 
up ^rmsiayour defence; have exerted their valpur, amidst their 
constant and laborious industry, for the defence of a country 
whose frontier was drenched in blood, while its interior parts 
yielded all its little savings to your emolument 

** And believe me, that same spirit of freedom whichactuated 
that people at first, will accompany them still. But prudence 
forbids me to explain myself further. 

** God knows, I do not, at this time, speak from party heat 
However superior to me, in general knowledge and experi- 
ence, the respectable body of this house may be, yet I claim 
to know more of America than most of you, having seen and 
been conversant in that country. The people, I believe, are as 



imly loyal as any subjects the king has ; but a people jealoiw 
of their liberties, and who will vindicate them, if ever they 
should be yiolated — ^but the subject is too delicate— I will say 
no more." 

For this unpremeditated appeal, pronounced with an energy 
and an eloquence fitted to the high occasion, the house 
was not prepared. For some minutes, the members remained 
motionless, as if petrified by surprise. But the opposition at 
length rallied. Their pride could not allow of retreat. The 
measure was again urged, the question was taken, and the bill 

No act of the British government could have been more im 
politic ; and none ever excited, in the colonies, a more uni 
versal alarm. It gave birth to feelings, which could never be 
suppressed, and aroused those intestine commotions in Ame- 
rica, which, after kindling a civil war, and involving all Europe 
in its calamities, terminated in the total disjunction from the 
British empire, of one of its fairest portions. 

After the arrival of the news that the stamp act had been 
adopted in parliament, the first public body that met was 
the assembly of Virginia. Towards the close of the session^ 
about the last of May, the following resolutions were in- 
troduced into the house of burgesses, by Patrick Henry ; a 
lawyer, at that time a young man, but highly distinguished 
for the strength of his intellect, and the power of his elo- 

'* Resolved, that the first adventurers and settlers of this his 
majesty's colony and dominions of Virginia, brought with 
them, and transmitted to their .posterity, and all others his 
majesty's subjects, since inhabiting in this his majesty's co- 
lony, all the privileges and immunities that have at any time 
been held, enjoyed, and possessed, by the people of Great 

'' Resolved, that by the two royal charters granted by King 
James I. the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all 
privileges of fiiithful, liege, and natural bom subjects, to all 
intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding and bom 
within die realms of England. 

^ , , 


** Resolved, that his majesty's most liege people of this his 
most ancient colony, have enjoyed the right of being thus 
governed by their own authority, in the article of taxes and 
internal police, and that the same have never been forfeited, 
nor any other way yielded up, but have been constantly re- 
cognised by the king and people of Great Britain. 

*' Resolved, therefore, that the general assembly of this co- 
lony, together with his majesty, or his substitute, have, in their 
representative capacity, the only exclusive right and power to 
lay taxes and impositions upon the inlmbitants of the colony ; 
and that any attempt to vest such a power in any person or 
persons whatever, other than the general assembly afore- 
said, is illegal, unconstitutional^ and unjust; and has a 
manifest tendency tojdestroy British as well as American free- 

The debate on these resolutions was animated, and even vio- 
lent. Nothing like them had ever transpired in America. 
They evinced a settled purpose of resistance ; and conveyed 
to the ministry of Great Britain a lesson, which had they read 
with unprejudiced minds, might have saved them the fruitless 
struggle of a seven years war. There Were those, in the house 
of burgesses, who strongly opposed the resolutions ; but the 
bold and powerful eloquence of Henry bore them down, and 
carried the resolutions through. In the heat of debate, he 
boldly asserted^ that the king had acted the part of a tyrant; 
and alluding to the fate of other tjrrants, he exclaimed, '* Caesar 
had his Brutus, Charles I. his Cromwell, and George III." — 
here pausing a moment, till the cry of '' treason^ treason,** 
resounding from several parts of the house, had ended — ^he 
added — " may profit by their example ; if this be treason, make 
the most of it" 

The above resolutions had no sooner passed, than they found 
their way into the papers of the day, and were circulated widely 
and rapidly through the colonies. They were received with 
enthusiasm ; and served to raise still higher the indignant 
feelings which pervaded the country. 

Before these resolutions had reached Massachusetts, the • 
house of representatives of that colony had declared the ex« 


pediency of a congress, composed of conunissiotters from the 
flCTeral colonies, '* to consult together on the present cir- 
cumstai&ses of the colonies ; — ^the acts of parliament laying 
duties and taxes npon them ; and to consider of a general 
and humble address to his majesty and the parliament for 

The measure thus proposed by Massachusetts, on being 
communicated to the sereral colonies, was received with 
cordial approbation by most of (hem ; and on the 7th of Oc- 
tober, 1766, commissioners from the colonies of Massachu- 
setts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New- York, New-Jersey, 
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina, me tat 
New-York, on the important and responsible business assign- 
ed them. 

This congress, the first that was ever held in America, 
published, as the result of their deliberation, a declaration of 
the rights and grievances of the colonists ; and agreed upon a 
memorial to the house of lords, and a petition to the king and 

In their declaration, they acknowledged their allegiance to 
his nugesty, and their willingness to render due honour to the 
4ghtfu2 authority of parliament ; but they claimed that they 
had interests^ rights^ and liberties^ as the natural born sub- 
jects of his majesty, and that, as they could not be represent- 
ed in parliament, that body had no right to impose taxes 
upon them without their consent. They declared the stamp 
act, a'nd other acts of parliament, " to have a manifest tenden- 
cy to subvert the rights and liberties of the colonists." 

The address and petition, agreed to by this congress, were 
at this time signed by the commissioners from six colonies 
only. But their proceedings were warmly approved in every 
quarter of the country ; and at a subsequent date, received the 
sanction of the assemblies, not only of South Carolina, Con- 
necticut, and New-York, but of those colonies which had not 
been represented in the congress. 

While the highest assemblies were thus bearing their official 
and solemn testimony against the oppressive and unconstitu 
tional acts of the British parliament; the people, in every sec 

XlCTllODirCTION. ' 33 

tion of the country, and especially in the principal towns, were 
manifesting their abhorrence of those measures, in a differenti 
but not less decisive way. 

On the morning of the 14th of August, two effigies were dis- 
covered hanging on the branch of an old elm, near the south 
entrance of Boston. One of these represented a stamp office: 
the other, B.jack hooU out of which rose a horned head, which 
appeared to be looking round. 

The singularity of this spectacle soo^ attracted the notice 
of great numbers; and before evening, the collection amounted 
to a multitude. The images were then taken down,placed upon 
a bier, and carried in procession with imposing solemnity. 
At a distance, in the rear, the multitude followed, shouting — 
" liberty and prosperity forever — ^no stamps !" Arriving in 
front of a house, owned by one Oliver, which was supposed to 
be a stamp office, they levelled it to the ground ; and proceed- 
ing to his place of residence, they beheaded his effigy, and 
broke in the windows of his house. Oliver himself effected a 
timely escape ; but his fences, the furniture of his house, and 
its dependencies, were destroyed. It was midnight before the 
multitude dispersed. ^ 

In the morning of the next day, the people re-assembled, 
and were proceeding to a repetition of their excesses ; 
but upon hearing that Oliver had sent his resignation to 
England, they desisted, and repairing to the front of his house, 
they gave three cheers, and quietly returned to their homes. 

A volume wonld scarcely suffice, to give a full recital of all 
the commotions which were excited by the stamp act, in the 
single province of Massachusetts. But these disorders were 
far from being confined to such circumscribed limits. A spi- 
rit of resistance pervaded the country. The very atmosphere 
seemed pregnant with revolt. Even sobriety was found off 
her guard, in the tumultuous crowd ; and old age felt some- 
thing of the impulses of younger days. 

On the first day of November, the stamp act was to go Into 
operation. As i! drew near, the feelings of the colonists 
became more and more intense ; less popular noise and cla- 
mour were, perhaps, to be heard; but a deep and settled hos 


tility to the act had taken possession of every breast. On the 
5th of October, the ships which brought the stamps appeared in 
sight of Philadelphia, near Gloucester Point : The vessels in the 
harbour immediately hoisted their colours half mast high ; the 
bells on the churches were muffled ; and during the rest of the 
day were tolled, in token of a profound and general mourning. 

On the 10th of September, the stamps, designed for Boston, 
arrived' at that place. By order of the governor, they were 
conveyed to the castle, where they could be defended by the 
artillery, should occasion require. At length, the Ist of No* 
vember arrived. The day in many places was ushered in 
with marks of funeral ceremony. Business was suspended, 
and shops and stores were closed. But at this time, not «k 
single sheet of all the bales of stamps, which had ]>een sent 
from England, could have been found in the colonies of New* 
England, of New-York, New- Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, 
and the two Carolinas. They had either been committed to 
the flames, had been reshipped to England, or were safely 
guarded by the oppositioii, into whose hands they had fallen* 
A general suspension, or rather a total cessation, of all business, 
which required stamped paper, was the consequence. The 
printers of newspapers only, observes an historian, continued 
their occupation ; alleging for excuse, that if they had done 
otherwise, the people would have given them such an admo* 
nition, as they little coveted. None would receive the gazettes 
coming from Canada, as they were printed on stamped paper. 
The courts of justice were shut; even marriages were no longer 
celebrated ; and, in a word, an absolute stagnation in all the 
relations of social life was established.* 

The mother country could not long remain in ignorance of 
the spirit which prevailed, and the disturbances which had 
been excited in the colonies, by the oppressive acts of parlia- 
ment; and the stamp act in particular. The minds of all classes 
in that country were deeply aflected ; but as different interests 
swayed, different opinions were entertained and expressed. 

The merchants, anticipating a loss on the credit given to the 



Americans, were disposed to censure the extraoriBnary course 
of parliament. The manufacturers were not less loud in their 
complaint, since, as the orders for their wares were discon- 
tinued, ruin stared them in the face. A deep despondency 
pervaded the minds of some ; a lof^y indignation took posses- 
sion of others. By one class, the colonies were extravagancy 
extolled; by another, they were as pointedly condemned. 
By some, they were praised for their manly independence and 
bold decision ; by others, they were accused of ingratitude, 
turbulence, and rebellion. 

Fortunately for the interests both of the colonies and of 
Great Britain, about this time, a change took place in the ad- 
ministration of England, by which several of the friends of 
America came into power. The Marquis of Rockingham, 
one of the wealthiest noblemen of the kingdom, and highly 
esteemed for the endowments of his mind, and the sincerity of 
his character, was appointed first lord of the treasury, in the 
room of Lord Grenville; IVfr. Dowdeswell was made Chancel- 
lor of the Exchequer ; Lord Winchester took the place of the 
Duke of Bedford, as president of the council ; and the 8eald 
were given to the young Duke of Grafton and General Con- 
way, who so nobly defended the cause of the Americans, on the 
motion in parliament to tax them. 

During the session of the parliament of 1766, the subject of 
the late disturbances in the colonies was brought forward, by 
the new administration, and the expediency of repealing the 
odious enactments was strongly urged. Petitions, from various 
quarters, were presented, to the same effect. Many of the 
merchants and manufacturers of the kingdom were deeply affects 
od by the new regulations concerning America. An immense 
quantity of British manufactures were perishing in the ware- 
houses ; while artisans and seamen were deprived of employ- 
ment and support. 

To the repeal of the stamp act, its original advocates were 
strongly opposed, and they marshalled all their strength to 
prevent it. In the first rank stood George Grenville, the late 
prime minister. In the debate on the subject of repeal, among 
other things, he said, "much against their will, the ministers 



hare laid before this house, the disturbances and audaciotH 
enormities of the Americans ; for they began in July, and now 
we are in the middle of January ; lately they were only 00- 
currences; they are now grown to disturbances, tumults, and 
riots. I doubt they border on open rebellion ; and if the doe- 
trine I have heard this day, be confirmed,! fear they will lose 
that name, to take that of revolution." — <* When I proposed 
to tax America, I asked the house, if any gentleman would 
object to the right? I repeatedly asked it; and no man 
would attempt to deny it. And tell me, when the Americans 
were emancipated? When they want the protection of this 
kingdom, they are always very ready to isk it. This protection 
has always been granted them, in the fullest manner; and now 
they refuse to contribute their mite towards the public expen- 
ses. For let not gentlemen deceive themselves, with regard 
to the rigour of the tax ; it would not suffice even for the ne^ 
cessary expenses of the (roops stationed in America : but a 
pepper'Com in acknowledgment of the right is of more value 
than millions without. Yet, notwithstanding the slightness 
of the tax, and the urgency of our situation, the Americans 
grow sullen, and instead of concurring in assisting to meet 
expenses arising from themselves, they renounce your autho- 
rity, insult vour officers, and break out, I might almost say, 
into open rebellion. 

*' There was a time when they would not have proceeded 
thus ; but they are now supported by the artifice of these 
young gentlemen ; inflammatory petitions are handed about 
against us, and in their favour. Even within this house, in 
this sanctuary of the laws, sedition has found its defenders. 
Resistance to the laws is applauded ; obstinacy encoura- 
ged ; disobedience extolled ; rebellion pronounced a virtue." 

In reply to Grenville, William Pitt, now venerable for his 
age, and still more venerable for the important services which 
he had rendered his country, rose and said : '* I know not 
whether I ought most to rejoice, that the infirmities which have 
been wasting, for so long a time, a body, already bowed by the 
Weight of years, of late suspending their ordinary violence, 
should have allowed me, this day, to behold these walls, and 


to diseusS) in the presence rf this august assembly) a subjecl 
of such high importance, and which so nearly concerns the 
safety of our country ; or to grieve at the rigour of destiny* 
in contemplating this country, which, within a few years had 
arrived at such a pinnacle of splendour and majesty, and be- 
come formidable to the universe from the immensity of its 
power, how wasted by an intestine evil, a prey to civil discords* 
and madly hastening to the brink of the abyss, into which 
the united force of the most powerful nations of Europe 
struggled in vain to plunge it. Would to heaven, that my 
health had permitted my attendance here, when it was first 
proposed to tax America ! If my feeble voice should not 
have been able to avert the torrent of calamities, which has 
fallen upon us, and the tempest which threatens us, at 
least my testimony would have attested, that I had no part in 

" It is now an act that has passed ; I would speak with 
decency of every act of this house, but I must beg the indul- 
gence of the house to speak of it with freedom* There is an 
idea in some; that the Americans are virtually represented in 
this house ; but I would fain know by what province, county, 
city, or borough, they are represented here ? No doubt by 
some province county, city, or borough, never seen or known 
by them, or their ancestors, and which they never will see or 

" The commons of America, represented in their several 
assemblies, have ever been in possession of the exercise of 
this, their constitutional right, of giving and granting their 
own money. They would have been slaves if they had not 
enjoyed it ' ' 

" I come not here, armed at all points with law cases, and 
acts of parliament, with the statute book doubled down in dog's 
ears, as my valiant adversary has done. But I know, at least, 
if we are to take e:^ ample from ancient facts, that, even under 
the most arbitrary reigns, parliaments were ashamed of taxing 
a people without their consent, and allowed them representa- 
tives; and in our own times, even those who send no mem- 
bers to parliament, are all. at least inhabitants of Great Brf- 



tain Many have it in their option to be actually represeatedi 
They have connexions with those that elect, and they have 
influence over them. Would to heaven that all were better 
represented than they are ! It is the vice of our constitn 
tion ; perhaps the day will arrive* and I rejoice in the hope, 
when the mode of representation, this essential part of our 
organization, and principal safeguard of our liberty, will be 
carried to that perfection which every good Englishman must 

" I hear it said that America is obstinate, America is almost 
in open rebellion. I rejoice that America has resisted. Three 
millions of people, so dead to all the feelings of liberty as 
voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would have been fit instm* 
ments to make slaves of ourselves. The honourable member 
has said also, for he is fluent in words of bitterness, that Ame» 
rica is ungrateful : he boasts of his bounties towards her ; 
but are not these bounties intended, finally, for the benefit of 
this kingdom ? And how is it true, that America is ungrate- 
ful ? Does she not voluntarily hold a good correspondence 
with us ? The profits to Great Britain, from her commerce 
with the colonies, are two millions a year. This is the fund 
that carried you triumphantly through the last war. The es-> 
tates that were rented at two thousand pounds a year, seventy 
years ago, are at three thousand at present. You owe this to 
America. This is the price she pays for your protection. I 
omit the increase of population in the colonies ; the migration 
of new inhabitants from every part of Europe ; and the ulte- 
rior progress of American commerce, should it be regulated 
by judicious laws. And shall we hear a miserable financier 
come with a boast that he can fetch a pepper-corn into the 
exchequer to the loss of millions to the nation ? The gentle* 
man complains that he has been misrepresented in the public 
prints. I can only say, it is a misfortune common to all that 
fill high fltations, and take a leading part in public afilairs. 
He says, also, that when he first asserted the right of parlia-» 
ment to tax America, he was not contradicted. I know not 
how it is, but there is a modesty in this house, which does not 
choose to contradict a minister. If gentlemen do not get the 


Better of this modesty, perhaps the collective body may begin 
to abate of its respect for the representative. A great deal 
has been said without doors, and more than is discreet, of the 
power, of the strength of America. But, in a good cause, on 
a sound bottom, the force of this country can crush America ^ 
to atoms ; but on the ground of this tax, when it is wished to 
prosecute an evident injustice,! am one who will lift my hands 
and my voice against it. 

*' In such a cause, your success would be deplorable, and 
victory hazardous. America, if she fell, would fall like the 
strong man. She would embrace the pillars of the state, and 
pull down theponstitution along with her. Is this your boasted 
peace ? — ^not to sheath the sword in its scabbard, but to sheath 
it in the bowels of your countrymen ? Will you quarrel with 
yourselves, now the whole house of Bourbon is against you ? 
While France disturbs your fisheries in Newfoundland, em- 
barrasses your slave trade with Africa, and withholds from 
your subjects in Canada their property, stipulated by treaty ? 
While the ransom for the Manillas is denied by Spain, and its 
gallant conqueror traduced into a mean plunderer? The 
Americans have not acted in all things with prudence and 
temper. They have been wronged. They have been drivea 
to madness by injustice. Will you punish them for the mad- 
ness you have occasioned ? Rather let prudence and benig- 
nity come first from the strongest side. Excuse their errors; 
learn to honour their virtues^ Upon the whole, I will beg 
leave to tell the house what is really my opinion. I consider 
it most consistent with our dignity, most useful to our liberty, 
and in every respect the safest for this kingdom, that the 
stamp act be repealed, absolutely, totally, and immediately. 
At the same time, let the sovereign authority of this country 
over the colonies be asserted in as strong terms as can be 
devised, and oe made to extend to every point of legislation 
whatsoever ; that we may bind their trade, confine their ma- 
nufactures, and exercise every power whatsoever, except that 
of taking their money out of their pockets without their con- 

The impression made by this speech of Mr. Pitt, pro- 


nounced, as it iras, with a firm and solemn tone, was deep and 
efiTectual. Much resentment was, indeed, manifested by all 
on account of the excesses committed by the Americans ; but 
conviction had settled on the minds of a majority of parlia- 
ment, that at least a partial retrocession on their part was ne- 
cessary. Accordingly, on the putting of the question, Februa- 
ry 22d, the repeal of the stamp act was carried in the house 
by a majority of 265 to 167. The vote in the house of peers 
was 155 to 61. On the 19th of March, the act of repeal re/- 
ceived the royal assent 

Thus was put at rest, for a time, a question which had 
deeply agitated not only the colonies of America, but England 
itself; and had excited much attention throughout continental 
Europe. But it is more than probable, that even at this time 
the repealing act would not have passed, had it not been ac« 
companied by a declaratory act^ that the parliament had the 
right to make laws and statutes to bind the colonies in all 
cases whatsoever. 

The joy produced throughout England at this result, was 
greater than could have been anticipated, and no demonstrar 
tions were omitted which could testify the public sense of the 
landness of the king, and the wisdom of the parliament. The 
flags of the ships were spread in token of felicitation ; a 
general illumination of the city of London was made ; salutes 
were fired ; and bonfires kindled in every quarter. 

But it was in America that a still higher joy prevailed, and 
still greater demonstrations of that joy were made. In the 
house of representatives in Massachusetts, a vote of gratitude 
to the king, and of thanks to Mr. Pitt, the Duke of Grafton, 
and others, was passed. By the house of burgesses in Virgi- 
nia, it was resolved to erect a statue in honour of the king, 
and an obelisk in honour of all those, whether of the house 
of peers or of commons, who had distinguished themselves 
in favour of the rights of the colonies. 

In the midst of this joy, the declaratory act, above men- 
tioned, appears to have been little regarded. The extent and 
inadmissible character of its principles for a time remained 
unscrutinised. It was considered as appended to the act of 


repeal, to soften the prejudices of the opposition, and to save 
national honour from the imputation of heing too greatly tar- 
nished. But, in reality, it was designed as the recognition of 
a principle which the British politicians were unwilling to 
relinquish, and which they might in time have occasion to 

It is not, moreover, to he concealed, that universal and sin- 
cere as was the joy of the Americans, consequent on the re- 
peal of the stamp act ; the same cordiality was never felt by 
the colonies, as before the late disturbances. A strong dis- 
gust — a deep resentment, had fixed itself in the hearts of 
many ; and a secret wish began to be felt, that the yoke were 
entirely removed. Perhaps, even at this early day, the hope 
was indulged, that the time would arrive, when this wish 
would become a reality. ^ 

In July, 1766, the administration of the Marquis of Rock- 
ingham was dissolved, and a new one formed, under the direc- 
tion of Mr. Pitt. Unfortunately it was composed of men of 
different political principles, and attached to different parties. 
The Duke of Grafton was placed at the head of the treasury; 
Lord Shelburne was joined with General Conway as one of the 
secretaries of state ; Charles Townshend was made chancel- 
lor of the exchequer, Camden, lord chancellor, Pitt, now crea- 
ted Earl of Chatham, had the privy seal, and Lord North and 
George Cooke were joint pay-masters. 

If the prejudices of many in the colonies were not yet 
done away, much more was this the fact with the ex-minister 
Grenville, and his adherents in England. Disappointed as 
to the popularity of his administration, and remembering as 
one cause of it, his measures against America, he was ready 
to call into view, on every occasion, her obstinacy and ingra- 
titude, and to enter anew upon efforts to tax the colonies. 

To him, therefore, is attributed the plan which, under the 
last formed administration, was brought forward in the par- 
liament of 1767, to impose taxes upon the colonies. The 
articles enumerated in the bill, upon which duties were laid» 
were glass, paper, paste board, white and red lead, painters 
colours, and tea* 

F 4* 


Mr. Pitt, during the discussion of this bill, was confined by 
indisposition, and hence, unable to raise his voice against it. 
Without much opposition, it passed both houses, and on the 
29th^of June, received the royal assent At the same time 
were passed two other acts ; — the one establishing a new 
board of custom-house officers in America; and the other re- 
straining the legislature of the preyince of New- York from 
passing any act whatever^ until they should furnish the king's 
tr5ops with several required articles. 

These three acts reached America at the same time, and 
again excited ^universal alarm. The first and second were 
particularly odious. The new duties, it was perceived, were 
only a new mode of drawing money from the colonies, and 
the same strong opposition to the measure was exhibited* 
which had prevailed against the stamp act. Several of the 
colonies, through their colonial assemblies, expressed their 
just abhorrence of these enactments, and their determination 
never to submit to them. 

Soon after the establishment of the new board of custom 
house officers, at Boston, under the above act, a fit occasion 
presented itself, for an expression of the public indignation. 
This was the arrival at that port, in May, 1668, of the sloop 
Liberty, belonging to Mr. Hancock, and laden with wines from 

During the night, the most of her cargo was unladen, and 
put into stores ; on the following day the sloop was entered 
at the custom house, with a few pipes only. A discovery 
being made of these facts, by the custom-house officers, the 
vessel was seized, and by their order removed along side of 
the Romney, a ship of war, then in the harbour. 

The conduct of the custom-house officers in this transac- 
tion roused the indignant feelings of the Bostonians, who un- 
warrantably attacked the houses of the officers, and even 
assaulted their persons. No prosecutions, however, could be 
sustained, from the elxcited state of public feeling. 

Finding themselves no longer safe in the town, the officers 
prudently sought protection on board the Romney, and sub- 
sequently retired to Castle Williams. 


The public excitement was soon after increased, bj the ar« 
rival in the harbour of two regiments of troops, under the 
command of Colonel Dalrymple. These were designed to 
assist the civil magistrates in the preservation of peace, and 
the custom-house officers in the execution of their functions. 
Both these regiments were encamped within the town — the 
one on the commons, the other in the market hall and state 

This measure of the govem6r, under order of the British 
ministry, was eminently fitted to rouse the public indignation 
to the highest pitch. To be thus watched, as if in a state of 
open rebellion — to see their common a place of encamp/nent 
— and their halls of justice, with the chambers of their as- 
seqibly, thronged with armed soldiers, was more than the in-> 
habitants were willing to endure. Frequent quarrels and 
collisions occurred between the citizens and soldiers, which 
every day threatened to terminate in bloodshed. 

During the session 'of parliament in 1770, the Duke of 
Givfton, first lord of the treasury, resigned, and was succeeded 
in that office by the afterwards celebrated Lord North. In 
March, this latter gentleman introduced a bill abolishing 
the duties imposed by the act of 1767, on all the articles 
except tea. This partial suspension of the duties served to 
soften the feelings of the Americans in a degree ; but the 
exception in relation to tea, it was quite apparent, was de- 
signed as a salvo to the national honour, and as an evidence 
which the British ministry were unwilling to relinquish, of the 
right of parliament to tax the colonies. 

The above relaxation in respect to certain duties was, how- 
ever, unaccompanied by any other indications of a more kindly 
feeling towards the colonies. The troops were still continued 
in Boston, and the acts of trade enforced with singular strict- 
ness. At length, on the evening of the 5th of March, 1770, in 
a quarrel between a party of soldiers and citizens, eleven of 
the latter were killed or wounded, by a guard, under command 
of a Captain Preston. 

The news of this rencontre was spread in every direction 
over the city — the bells were rung, the alarm of "fire*' was 


giren, the drams were beat, and the citizens erery where 
called to arms. Thousands soon assembled, and demanded 
the remoral of the troops from the town. With the assu* 
ranee that the afiair should be settled to their satisfaction in tho 
morning, they were induced to retire. When the morning came, 
however, Hutchinson, the lieutenant governor, for a long 
time refused to order the removal of the troops, and was only 
driven to this measure, by evidence too strong to be doubted, 
that his own personal safety depended upon it. 

The men who were killed, were regarded as martyrs in the 
cause of liberty ; and at their interment no mark of public 
sympathy or appropriate funeral ceremony was omitted. The 
anniversary of this tragical event, which was called *' the 
Boston massacre,'* was long observed with great solemnity, 
and gave occasion to warm and patriotic addresses, well 
adapted to excite a revolutionary spirit. 

Captain Preston and his guard were arraigned before a 
judicial tribunal ; but for the honour of the colony they were 
all acquitted, except two, who were found guilty of i4in- 
slaughter. For this acquittal, the prisoners, as well as the 
colony, were indebted to the independent zeal and powerful 
eloquence of John Adams and Josiah Quincy, Jun. than whom 
none were warmer friends to the colony, or had .acted a more 
conspicuous part against the imperious demands of the British 
ministry. Odious to the community as the prisoners were, 
these honest and intrepid champions appeared in their 
defence, and proved to the world, that while Americans 
could resist the usurpations of a tyrannical ministry, they 
could also stand forth, when justice required, for the pro- 
tection and defence of their irresponsible servants. 

Allusion has been made to the requirement of his British 
majesty, in former years, that the colonies should provide for 
the support of the royal governors by a fermunent salary, and 
their refusal toyield to the royal wishes. In the year 1772, it 
was officially announced to the assembly of Massachusetts, 
that provision had been made for the payment of their gover- 
nor's salary by tiie crovm, independent of any grant from 
them. The former dispute on this subject had given birth to 


m&ny angry feelings ; but language can scarcely describe the 
excitement occasioned by the renewal of the subject, and the 
application of the revenue of the colony to the above purpose, 
independent of the assembly. The house of representatives 
immediately declared the appropriation an infraction of their 
eharteK* — a dangerous innovation, and the preliminary to a 
despotic administration of government. 

While this dispute was going forward in Massachusetts, a 
bold opposition to the measures of the British ministry ap« 
peared (June, 1772) in the colony of Rhode Island. A British 
armed schooner, tailed the Gaspee, had been stationed in that 
colony to assist the board of customs in the execution of the 
reveniie and trade laws. Desirous of displaying his authority, 
and of humbling the pride of the colonists, the captain obliged 
the masters of packets, navigating the bay, to lower their 
colours on passing the schooner; and, in case of refusal, 
would chase them, and fire upon them. To a requirement so 
humiliating, a mast^er of one of the Providence packets refused 
to ftrbmit, and was chased by the schooner, which venturing 
too far inland, ran aground. 

Intelligence of her situation was immediately communicated 
to the inhabitants of Providence; and several who were 
characterized for a love of daring enterprise, repaired to the 
spot. Under cover of night, they took the vessel by 
force, and burnt her to the water's edge. Such a bold opposi- 
tion to the laws, was 'not suffered to pass unnoticed. But 
although commissioners were appointed to investigate the 
aflfair, and a reward of 500Z. was offered for a discovery of the 
offenders, all efforts to detect them were futile. 

The opposition to the royal provision for the salary of thei 
governor, which we noticed in a preceding paragraph, was 
not confined to the assembly of Massachusetts. Numerous 
meetings were called in the various towns of the provinces, in 
relation, as well to this particular measure, as to other oppres- 
sive acts of the British parliament. 

In these meetings, the town of Boston took the lead. A 
committee was appointed to address the several towns in the 
colony, and to urge upon them the importance of an unani- 


moiM expression of their feelings with regard to the conduct 
of the British ministry. ** .We have abundant reason to appre- 
hend," said this committee, in their address, ** that a plan of 
despotism has been concerted, and is hastening to a complex 
Hon; the late measures of the administration hare a direct 
tendency to deprive us of every thing valuable as men, as 
christians, and as subjects, entitled to the rights of native 
Britons." — "We are not afraid of poverty," said they, in con- 
clusion, — " but we disdain slavery. Let us consider^ we are 
struggling for our best birth rights and inheritance ; which, 
being infringed, renders all our blessings precarious in their 
enjoyment, and trifling in their value." 

The proceedings of the assembly, and of the towns in Mas* 
sachusetts, were communicated to the house of burgesses in 
Virginia, in March of 1773. Similar sentiments prevailed in 
that ancient and patriotic colony. It was apparent to that body, 
and began to be a prevailing opinion throughout the coun* 
try, that to remain much longer in that particular state, was 
impossible. The future was indeed indistinct. But the wild 
confusion of the elements gave indications of an approaching 
storm. A portentous cloud hung over the country. It was 
the part of wisdom, at least, to think of preparation, and to 
ascertain in what attitude things stood in different sections of 
the country, together with the support the directing officers 
might expect, should the threatening tempest actually burst 

With these views, no doubt, the house o^ burgesses in Vir- 
ginia, on the 12th of March, 1773, passed the following reso- 
lutions : 

" Be it resolved, that a standing committee of correspon* 
dence and inquiry be appointed, to consist of eleven persons, 
to wit : the honourable Peyton Randolph, Esquire, Robert 
Carter Nicholas, Richard Bland, Richard Henry Lee, Benja- 
min Harrison, Edmund Pendleton, Patrick Henry, Dudley 
Diggs, Dabney Carr, Archibald Gary, and Thomas Jefierson, 
Esquires, any six of whom to be a committee, whose business 
it shall be to obtain the most early and authentic intelligence 
of such acts and resolutions of the British parliament, or pro* 
ceedings of administration, asmayrelateto,or affect the British 


eolonies ; and to keep up and maintain a correspondence and 
communication with our sister colonies, respecting these im- 
portant considerations, and the result of their proceedings from 
time to time to lay before the house." 

Upon the recommendation of Virginia, similar committees 
of correspondence and inquiry were appointed by the differ- 
ent colonial assemblies ; and a confidential interchange of 
opinions was thus kept up between the colonies. Great unity 
of sentiment was the consequence; and the value of the 
measure was fully developed, in the struggle which afterwards 
ensued between the colonies and the parent country. 

By a series of direct oppressions, and through the resident 
officers of the crown, the hostility of the people of Massachu- 
setts had become a settled principle ; ' and about this time, it 
received additional strength, from the discovery and publication 
of certain letters, addressed to a member of parliament, in the 
years 1768 and 1760, by Mr. Hutchinson the governor, and 
Mr. Oliver the chief justice of the province. 

The existence of these letters was communicated to Dr. 
Franklin, who at that time resided in England, by a gentleman 
of his acquaintance, with the assurance that they contained 
statements calculated to prejudice the ministry and parlia- 
ment against the people of Massachusetts, and to widen the 
breach between the two countries ; and that they moreover 
recommended the employment of force to reduce the colonies 
to order and obedience. 

The letters were, at length, shown by this gentleman to Dr. 
Franklin, who obtained copies of them to be sent to America, 
only upon the express condition, that they should be confi- 
dentially shown to a few, and should not be again copied. 

On their arrival in America, they were confidentially shown 
to the "few ;" but it was scarcely possible that they should not 
be made the subject of conversation. By some means, the 
existence of such letters became known, beyond the original 
intention; and so intense was the curiosity excited by the 
subject, that on the 2d of June, 1773, some of them were com- 
municated by Samuel Adams to the assembly of Massachusett8» 



then sitting with closed doorst under the restrietien that they 
should not be copied or published. 

Notwithstanding the above restrictions, the contents of the 
letters were so extraordinary and so fully cTidentialof a design 
to subvert the constitution of the province by the introduc* 
tion of arbitrary power, that the house, upon further delibera- 
tion, directed the whole to be published. They were induced 
to this course, by the fact, that several copies had got into 
circulation, from whidi it might be inferred^ that the consent 
of the original owner had been obtained for that purpose. 

The letters contained exaggerated statements and delibe>* 
rate misrepresentations of occurrences in the colony, and 
recommended an alteration of the charter of Massachusetts, 
together with the institution of an order of patricians. They 
even hinted at the expediency of *' taking off some of the 
original incendiaries.*^ 

The governor, unable to deny his own signature, presented 
the poor excuse that they were ** confidential letters," and 
were written without any such object as was ascribed to them. 
But now, '* proof was heaped upon the shoulders of demon- 
stration," that Hutchinson, Oliver, and their adherents, had 
attempted to alienate the affections of the king and ministry 
from the colonies. The house of representatives, in an address 
to the king, broadly asserted this fact ; and solicited, though 
in v$in, that Hutchinson and Oliver might be removed from 

their places forever. 
During these transactions in America, a plan was devising 

by the British ministry, to introduce tea into the colonies. 
The duty on this article, as already noticed, had been re- 
tained, for the purpose of maintaining the supremacy of par- 
liament, and its right to impose taxes. Little of the article, 
however, had been imported into the country from Great 
Britain ; the people having firmly resolved not to submit to 
the payment of the duty. In consequence of a strict adhe- 
rence to this resolution, the teas of the East India Company 
had accumulated in their warehouses ; and legislative aid 
became necessary to relieve them of their embarrassments* 

In ITTS, the nunister introdiiiced a bill into parikmtiily 

allowing the company to export their teas to America, wkh a 
drawback of all the duties paid in England. By this refnkr 
tion» tea would in fact become cheaper in America than in 
dreat Britain, and it was expected that this eonnderaliom 
would induce the Americans to pay the small duty upon it 

On the passage of this bill, ih& company made a shipment of 
larg&quantLties of tea to Charleston, Philadelphia, New-Yorii, 
and Boston. Before its arrival, the resolution had been formed 
by the inhabitants of those places, that, if possible, it should 
not even be landed. That cargo destined for Charleston was, 
indeed, landed and stored ; but was not permitted to be offer* 
ed for sale. The vessels which brought tea to Philadelphia 
and New-York, were compelled to return to England with 
their cargoes, without ev-en having made an entry at the eus^' 
torn -house. 

It was designed by die leading patriots of Boston to make 
a similar disposition of the cargoes which were expected at 
that place ; but on its arrival, die consignees were found to be 
the relations, or friends, of the governor, and they could not 
be induced to resign their trust. Several town meetings were 
h^d on the subject, and spirited resolutions passed^ that no 
considerations would induce the inhabitants to permit the 
landing of the ted. Orders were at die same time given to the 
captains to obtun clearances at the custom-house, without the 
usual entries ; but diis the collector pertinaciously refused. 

It was in this state of things, that the citlasens of Boston 
again assembled, to determine what measures to adopt Du- 
ring the discussions had on the posture of a&irs, and while 
a captain of a vessel was gone to wait upon the governor, for 
the last time, to request a passport, Josiah Quincy, Jun. rose, and 
addressed the assembly in the following eloquent style : *' It is 
not the spirit diat vapours within these walls, that must stand 
us in stead. The exertions of this day will coil forth eventSf 
which will make a very different spirit necessary for our sal- 
vation. Look to ih% «id* Whoever supposes, that shouts 
and hosannas will terminate the trials of the day, entertains a 
coildish fency. Yfe nust be grosfily ignorant of the impoF*' 
G 5 


lanee and value of the prize, for which we contend ; we mtisi 
be equally ignorant of the powers of those who have com- 
bined against us ; we must be blind to that malice, inveteracy 
and insatiable revenge, which actuate our enemies, public and 
private, abroad and in our bosoms, to hope we shall end this 
controversy without the sharpest, sharpest conflicts ; to flatter 
ourselves, that popular resolves, popular harangues, popular 
acclamations, and popular vapour, will vanquish our fears. 
Let us consider the issue. Let us look to the end. Let us 
weigh and considei'y before we advance to those measures which 
must bring on the most trying and terrible struggle this 
country ever saw." 

The captain of the vessel at length returned, to say that 
the gpvernor refused the requested passport The meeting 
was immediately dissolved. A secret plan had been formed 
to mingle the tea with the waters of the ocean. Three dif- 
ferent parties soon after sallied out, in the costume of Mo- 
hawk Indians, and precipitately made their way to the wharves. 

At the same time, the citizens were seen in crowds direct- 
ing their course to the same place, to become spectators of a 
«cene, as novel as the enterprise was bold. Without noise, 
without the tumult usual on similar occasions, the tea was 
taken from the vessel, by the conspirators, >and expeditiously 
ofiered as an oblation *' to the watery God." 

Nothing could exceed the surprise of the British ministry, 
on learning the issue of their plan to introduce tea into the 
colonies. Their indignation was particularly severe against the 
inhabitants of Boston, for their " violent and outrageous con- 
duct." In the following March, 1774, the whole affiiir was 
presented to parliament by Lord North, and a determination 
was formed to punish both the citizens of Boston, and the in- 
habitants of the colony. 

Accordingly, a bill was soon introduced into the house of com- 
mons, usually called the " Boston port bill^^^ which prohibited 
the landing or shipping of any goods at that port, after the 
first of June following. By a second act, which followed, the 
charter of the colony was so altered, as to make the appoint- 
ment of the council, justices, judges, sherifis, and even jurors* 


dependent npon^ the king or his agent ; and restraining all 
town meetings, except the annual meeting, wi<liout leave of 
the governor in writing, with a statement of the special busi- 
ness of the meeting. To these enactments a third was added, 
authorising the governor, with the advice of the council, to 
send any person for trial to any other colony, or to Great 
Britain, who should be informed against, or indicted for any 
act done in violation of the laws ,01 the revenue. 

On the arrival of the Boston port bill, which was brought 
over by a new governor. General Gage, the citizens of Bos- 
ton, in an assembly which was convened to consider the sub- 
ject, declared, ** that the impolicy, injustice, inhumanityi and 
cruelty of the act, exceeded all their powers of expression ; 
and, therefore," said they, ** we leave it to the consciences of 
others, and appeal to God and the world." — ^At the same time 
they adopted the following resolution : ** That if the other 
colonies come into a joint resolution to stop all importati&ns 
from, and exportations to Great Britain, and every part of the 
West Indies, till the act be repealed, the same would prove 
the salvation of North America and her liberties." 

Copies of these proceedings were immediately circulated 
through the colonies. A universal sympathy for the inhabi- 
tants of Boston was expressed. In Virginia, this sympathy 
was manifested by the house of burgesses, in the observance 
of the 1st of June, the day the port of Boston was to be 
shut, as a *'day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer." 

Arrangements having been made for the meeting of the 
second continental congress, on the 5th of September, 1774, 
that body assembled at Philadelphia. All the colonies were 
represented, except Georgia. Peyton Randolph, a delegate 
from Virginia, was elected president, and Charles Thompson, 
a citizen of Philadelphia, was chosen secretary. 

The attention of this celebrated congress was at an early 
date turned towards the province of Massachusetts, and the 
city of Boston ; and the following resolutions were adopted, 
expressive of the sympathy they felt for that colony, in its dis- 
tress, and the high sense which the congress entertained of 
the wisdom and fortitude which the colony exhibited. "This 


aasemblj deeply feels the snfierings of their eomitryinen in ihe 
MeMaehmetts Bay, under the operation of the late unjust,- 
emely and oppressiye acts of the British parliament ; at the 
same time, they most thoroughly approve the wisdom and for- 
titude with which opposition to these wicked ministerial 
measures has hitherto been conducted ; and they earnestly 
recommend to their brethren a persererance in the same firm 
and temperate conduct, trusting that the effect of the united 
efforts of North America, in their behalf, will carry such con- 
viction to the British nation, of the unwise, unjust, and ruinous 
policy of the present administration, as quickly to introduce 
better men and wiser measures." 

Congress farther addressed a letter to General Gage, ear- 
nestly praying him to put a stop to the hostile preparations 
which he had commenced, especially the fbrtifications around 
Boston, as the surest means of maintaining public tranquillity 
in that quarter, and preventing the horrors of a civil war. 
At the same time, they urged upon the citizens of that town all 
the forbearance within their power; that they should '* conduct 
themselves peaceably towards his excellency, General Grage» 
and his majesty's troops stationed in Boston, as far as could 
possibly be consistent with the immediate safety and seduriQr 
of the town." 

Congress next proceeded to publish a declaration of rights. 
These rights were set forth in the following articles : 

" 1. Tliat they are entitled to life, liberty, and property ; 
and they have never ceded to any foreign power whatever, a 
right to dispose of either, without their consent. 

«*2. That our ancestors, who first settled these coloniefl, 
were, at the time of their emigration from their mother coun- 
try, entitled to all the rights, liberties, and immunities of free 
and natural bom subjects within the realm of Englandr 

'* 3. That by such emigration, they by no means forfeited, 
surrendered, or lost any of those rights, but that they were* 
and their descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and 
enjoyment of such of them, as their local and other circum* 
stances enable them to exercise and enjoy. 

" 4. That the foundation of English liberty, and of all free 


governmei^ts, is a right in the }>eople to perticipftte in their 
legislative council ; and as the English colonists are not re« 
presented, and, from their local and other cireumstanees, can- 
not properly be represented in the British parliament, t ej 
are entitled to as free and exclusive power of legislation^ m 
their several provincial legislatures, where their right of rep- 
resentation can alone be preserved, in all cases of taxation 
and internal policy^ subject only to the negative of their sove- 
reign, in such a manner as has been heretofore used and ac- 
customed. But from the necessity of the case, and a regard 
to the mutual interest of both coun^es, we cheerfully consent 
to the operation of such acts of the British parliament as are 
bona fide restrained to the regulation of our external com- 
merce, for the purpose of securing the commercial advanta- 
ges of the whole empire to the mother country, and the com- 
mercial benefits of its respective members ^ excluding every 
idea of taxation, internal or external, for raising a revenue^ on 
the subjects in America, without their consent. 

*' 5. That the respective colonies are entitled to the com- 
mon law of England, and more especially, to the great and 
inestimable privilege of being tried by their peers of the 
vicinity, according to the course of that law. 

**6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the 
English statutes as existed at the time of their colonization ; 
and which they have by experience respectfully found to be 
applicable to their several local and other circumstances. 

** 7. That these his majesty's colonies, are likewise entitled 
to all the immunities and privileges, granted and confirmed 
to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codei 
of provincial laws. 

** 8. That they have a right peaceably to assemble, con- 
sider of their grievances, and petition the king ; and all prose- 
cutions, prohibitory proclamations, and commitments for the 
same, are illegal. 

'^ 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies in 
times of peace, without the consent of the legislature of that 
colony, in which such an army is kept, is against law. 

*^ 10. It is Indispensably necessary to good goverament, 



nadered essential by Uie English constitution, that the con 
stitnent branches of the legislature be independent of each 
other ; that, therefore, the exercise of legislative power, in 
iiCTeral colonies, by a council appointed during pleasure by 
tike crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to 
the freedom of American legislation." 

In relation to the above particulars, they expressed them* 
selves in the following language : 

' '' All and each of which, the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of 
themselves and their constituents, do claim, demand, and in* 
siBt on, as their indubitable rights and liberties, which cannot 
be legally taken from them, altered, or abridged, by any powei 
whatever, without their consent by their representatives in 
their several provincial legislatures." 

It was also deemed of importance to adopt measures to stop 
eommercial intercourse with Great Britain. An agreement 
was, therefore, entered into, to suspend all in^rtation of 
merchandise from Great Britain and its dependencies, from 
the 1st of December, 1774 ; and, unless the wrongs of which 
fte Americans complained should be redressed, to suspend 
in like manner all exportation from the 10th of gleptember» 
1775, with the single exception of rice. 

At the same time it was urged upon the colonies to adopt 
a system of rigid economy; to encourage industry, and to 
promote agriculture, arts, and manufactures, and especially 
the manufacture of wooL 

Having attended to these important concerns, congress 
closed their session on the 26th of October, after adopting 
addresses to the people of Great Britain, to the king, and to 
the French inhabitants of Canada. 

The congress which then terminated its session, has justly 
been celebrated from that time to the present, and its celebrity 
will continue while wisdom finds admirers, and patriotism is 
regarded with veneration. The tone and temper of their various 
r^olutions, the style of their addresses, and the composition 
of the several public papers, contributed, in every particular, 
to excite the admiration of the world. Bom and educatea 
in ike wilds of a new world, unpractised in the arts of poUty* 

XNrRO»170TIOlf* W 

most of them unexperienced in the ardac»u8 duties of legieli^ 
lion, differing in religion, manners, customs, and habits, as they 
did in their views of the nature of their connexion with Great 
Britain ; — ^that such an assembly, so constituted, should dis* 
1^7 so much wisdom, sagacity, foresight, and knowledge of 
the world; such skill in argument; such force of reasoning; 
such firmness and soundness of judgment; so profound an ac- 
quaintance with the rights of men; such genuine patriotism; 
and, above all, such unexampled union of opinion, was indeed 
a political phenomenon to which history has furnished no 
parallel.* Both at home and abroad, they were spoken of in 
terms of the highest admiration. Abroad^ the Earl of Chat- 
ham, in one of his brilliant speeches, remarked of them :-^ 
^ History, my lords, has been my favourite study, and in the 
celebrated writings of antiquity have I often admired the 
patriotism of Greece and Rome ; but, my lords, I must declare 
and avow, that in the master tales of the world, I know not 
the people, or the senate, who, in such a complication of diffi- 
oolt circumstances, can stand in preference to the delegates 
of America assembled in general congress at Philadelphia.** 
At homey they were celebrated by a native and popular bard,t 
in an equally elevated strain : 

*< Now meet the fiaihers of this western clime ; 

Nor names more noble graced the rolls of fame, 
When Spartan firmness braved the wrecks of time^ 
Or Rome's bold virtues &nn'd the heroic flame. 

Not deeper thought the immortal sage inspired, 

On Solon's lips when Grecian senates hung ; 
Nor tfianlier elocfuence the bosom fired, 

When genius thundered from the Athenian tongue.'' 

While this congress were in session, nearly all the colonies 
had taken measures to call provincial assemblies, for the pur- 
pose of better securing their ancient rights of government. 
In Massachusetts, the people had determined to hold a pro- 
vincial congress on the 15th of October, which induced Gene- 
nJ Gage, with a view to prevent the intended meeting, to 

^ABexL tM'FingaL 


eonvoke the general court of the provinee at Salem, on the 
5th of the same month. Before the arrival of this latter dajt 
howefer, he issued his proclamation, forhidding that assembly. 
The members, nevertheless, convened on the appointed day, 
and adjourned to Concord, where, after electing John Han- 
cock for their president, they further adjourned to meet at 
Cambridge, on the 17th instant At the latter place, they 
proceeded to exercise the powers of government, and to take 
the necessary measures for placing the province in a state of 
defence. They appointed a committee of safety, and a com« 
mittee of supplies. One fourth of the militia were ordered to 
be enlisted as minute men, to be frequently drilled, and held 
in readiness for service at a minute's warning. 

In other colonies also, before the close of the year, the- 
note of preparation was heard. The horizon every day be- 
came more lowering; and as its darkness thickened, the 
activity and vigilance of the colonists increased. 

The British parliament met on the 29th of November. 
The moderation evinced by the congress at Philadelphia had 
encouraged the mass of the American people to hope, that 
on the meeting of that body, conciliatory measures would be 
adopted, so as to restore peace and harmony between the two 
countries. Similar sentiments were entertained by the 
friends of America, in England. They saw nothing in the 
proceedings of the American congress, in their resolutions, 
manifestoes, or addresses, to which an Englishman, proud of 
his birthright, could justly object. It now remained with the 
British government to adopt a plan of reconciliation, or to 
lose the affections of the colonies forever. 

The tone of his majesty's speech, on the opening of the 
session, was unexpectedly lofty, and gave little encourage* 
ment to the hopes of reconciliation. After alluding to the 
spirit of disobedience which was abroad in his American 
colonies, and to the daring resistance to law which charac- 
terized the people of Massachusetts, he informed parliament 
af his firm determination to resist every attempt to impair the 
supreme authority of parliament, throughout the dominions 
of the crown. 

iKTEoimcnoK. 69 

To the mind of Lord Chatham, no object, at this time* 
•eemed more important, than the restoration of peace hetween 
the two countries. The period had arrired, when a reconci- 
liation must take place, if ever such an event could he effected* 
Hence, on the assembling of parliament, after the usual recess, 
January 20th, 1775, when the minister had laid the papers 
relating to America before the house, Lord Chatham rose, and 
moved, ** that an humble address be presented to his majesty, 
to direct the removal of his majesty's troops from Boston, in 
order to open the way towards a settlement of the dangc reus 
trouhles in America." 

" My lords," says Chatham, " these papers from Amf rica, 
now laid by the administration for the first time before your 
lordships, have been, to my knowledge, five or six weeks in 
the pocket of the minister. And notwithstanding the fate of 
this kingdom hangs upon the event of this great controversy, 
we are but this moment called to a consideration of this im- 
portant subject. 

** My lords, I do not wish to look into one of these papers. 
I know their contents, well enough, already. I know, that 
there is not a member in this house, but is acquainted with 
their purport, also. There ought, therefore, to be no delay 
in entering upon this matter. We ought to proceed to it im* 
mediately. We ought to seize the first moment to open the 
door of reconciliation. The Americans will never be in a 
temper or state to be reconciled — they ought not to be— till 
the troops are withdrawn. The troops are a perpetual irrita- 
don to those people ; they are a bar to all confidence, and all 
cordial reconcilement. 

" The way," he said, ** must be immediately opened for 
reconciliation. It will soon be too late. I know not who 
advised the present measures ; I know not who advises to 
a perseverance and enforcement of them ; but this I will say, 
that whoever advises them, ought to answer for it at his 
utmost peril. I know that no one will avow that he advised, 
or that he was the author of these measures ; every one shrinks 
from the charge. But somebody has advised his majesty to 
these measures, and if he continues to hear such evil cou»» 



feOors, his majesty will be undone. His majesty may, indeed, 
wear his crown, but the American jewel out of it, it will not 
be worth the wearing. What more shall I say ? I must 
not say, the king is betrayed ; but this I will say, the nation 
is ruined. What foundation have we for our claims over 
America ? What is our right to persist in such cruel and 
vindictive measures, against that loyal, respectable people ? 

'* My lords, deeply impressed with the importance of 
taking some healing measures, at this most alarming, dis* 
tracted state of our affairs, though bowed down with a cruel 
disease, I have crawled to this house, to give you my best 
counsel and experiepce : and my advice is, to beseech his 
majesty to withdraw his troops. This is the best I can think 
of. It will convince America, that you mean to try her cause, 
in the spirit, and by the laws of freedom and fair inquiry, and 
not by codes of blood. How can she now trust yoii, with 
the bayonet at her breast ? She has all the reason in the 
world, now, to believe you mean her death or bondage. 
Thus entered on the threshold of this business, I will knock 
at your gateHi for justice, without ceasing, unless inveterate 
infirmities stay my hand. My lords, I pledge myself never 
to leave this business. I will pursue it to the end in every 
shape. I win never fail of my attendance on it, at every step 
and period of this great matter, unless nailed down to my 
bed by the severity of disease. My lords, there is no time 
to be lost ; every moment is big with dangers. Nay, while 
I am now speaking, the decisive blow may be struck, and 
millions involved in the consequences. The very first drop 
of blood will make a wound, that will not easily be skinned 
over. Years* perhaps ages, will not heal it : it will be tm- 
medicdbile vulnus : a wound of that rancorous, malignant^ 
corroding, festering nature, that in all probability, it will 
mortify the whole body. Let us then, my lords, set to this 
business in earnest ! not take it up by bits and scraps, as 
formerly, just as exigencies pressed, without any regard to 
general relations, connexions, and dependencies. I would 
not, by any thing I have said, my lords, be thought to encou- 
rage America to proceed beyond the right line. I reprobate 


all actfl of riolence by her mobility. But when her inherent 
const! tational rights are invaded, those rights she has an equita- 
ble claim to enjoy by the fundamental laws of the English con- 
stitution, and which are engrafted thereon by the unalterable ' 
laws of nature ; then I own myself an American, and feeling my- 
self such, shall to the verge of my life vindicate those rights 
against all men, who strive to trample upon, or oppose them.'* 

This motion of Lord Chatham, offered not less from a re- 
gard to the welfare of England, than from a conviction of her 
impolitic and cruel oppression of the colonists, — ^and sup- 
ported by all the eloquence of which that distinguished ora- 
tor was master, was, nevertheless, rejected by a large majori- 
ty. Although thus defeated, he was still determined, if pos- 
sible, to save his country from the evils which his prophetic 
glance saw in certain prospect, unless they should be timely 
averted. Hence, shortly afterwards, he introduced into par- 
liament his conciliatory bill. While this bill maintained the 
dependence of the colonies upon the imperial crown, and the 
right of parliament to make laws to bind them in all cases, 
touching the general interests of the British empire, it declared 
that that body had no right to tax the colonies without their 

To such a proposition the ministry were not prepared to 
listen. They were determined to admit no bill, which had 
for its object the relinquishment of any of their favourite doc- 
trines, or which, by implication, should impeach the wisdom 
or justice of the course they had pursued. Nay, they had 
now formed their plan, and were prepared to announce it. 
Coercion was to be their motto, until, in the spirit of sub- 
mission, America should lay herself down at their feet. 

In accordance with the above declaration, a bill was soon 
after passed by the parliament, restricting the trade of the 
colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New-Hampshire^ and 
Rhode Island, to Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies, 
and prohibiting their carrying on any fisheries on the banks of 
Newfoundland, and other places for a limited time. Tlie 
same restrictions were soon after extended to all the coIo- 
Hies, represented in the congress at Philadelphia, with the 

I" . 


eoreeption of New-Tork and North Carolina. By these re 
etrictions, it was thought to starre the colonies into ohedi- 
ence and submission, from a mistaken apprehension that 
the people were dependent upon the fisheries for their svqp- 

It was a general understanding among the colonists, that 
hostilities should not be commenced by them. It was, indeed* 
apparent, that the day of blood was not far distant, but thai 
blood ws^ to be first shed by the hands of the English. In 
the mean time, they were not inactive in the work of prepa- 
ration. The munitions of war were collected and stored at 
different points, as necessity and safety seemed to require. 
A.mong the places of deposite in Massachusetts, were Wor- 
cester and Concord, and thither considerable stores of arms 
and provisions had been conveyed. 

In the mean time, the vigilance of General Gage was not 
abated. Excited by the loyalists, who had persuaded him 
that he would find no resistance from the cowardice of the 
patriots^ he resolved to send a few companies to Concord, 
in a secret manner, to seize the military stores deposited 
there ; and either to transport them to Boston, or to destroy 
them. Accordingly, on the evening of the 18th of April, 1T76, 
a detachment moved from Boston for this purpose, and the 
next day occurred the memorable battle of Lexington, in 
which the British were the aggressors, by first firing on the 
militia collected at that place. 

The details of this opening scene of the revolutionary war 
are too well known, to require a recital in this place. Re« 
pulsed, harassed, and fiitigued, the British, with no inconsi- 
derable loss, returned to Boston, after having accomplished 
their object. 

The provincial congress of Massachusetts was, at this time^ 
in session at Watertown, ten miles distant from Boston. Th^ 
immediately resolved that a levy of thirteen thousand men 
should be made. At the same time, the treasurer was directed 
to borrow 100,0001. for the use of the provifice ; and they de- 
eiared the citizens were absolved from all obligations of obe- 
dience Jto Governor Gage. As the news of Ae battle «f 


Lexington spread round the country, a universal ardour in- 
flamed the minds of the inhabitants ; and shortly after, were 
assembled, in the neighbourhood of Boston, thirty thousand 
men, ready, should occasion require, to do justice to them* 
selves and their country. 

In this critical state of public affairs, congress again assem- 
bled at Philadelphia, on flie 10th of May. An official account 
of the late aggressions of his majesty's troops in Massachu- 
setts, was soon after laid before them ; upon which it was 
unanimously resolved to place the colonies in a state of de- 
fence. To the colony of New-York, which had solicited the 
advice and direction of congress, in anticipation of the speedy 
arrival of foreign troops, they recommended a course of action 
entirely on the defensive. They were, however, advised to 
remove all military stores, and to provide a place of re- 
treat for their women and children ; to hold themselves in 
readiness for the protection of the city ; and, in the event of 
hostilities, to meet the enemy with promptness and decision. 

To some of the members of congress, it appeared desirable 
to make yet another attempt at reconciliation with the British 
government. Justice, indeed, required no such advance; and 
by many the measure was considered only as a work of supe- 
rerogation. They were willing, however, while raising the 
sword with one hand, to extend the olive branch with the 
other ; and, though driven to t{ie necessity of forcibly vindi- 
cating their rights, they were still disposed to secure them, 
if possible, by a firm remonstrance. Yielding, therefore, to 
the pacific wishes of several members, they prepared an ad- 
dress to the king, by way of solemn appeal, and a second ad- 
dress to the people of Great Britain. 

Towards the king, they yet used the language of loyalty 
and affection ; and assured him, notwithstanding the injuries 
they had sustained, and the grievous oppressions under which 
they were suffering, they still wished for peace ; and if re- 
dressed in respect to their wrongs, and secured in the just 
rights of subjects, they would manifest towards him all the 
affection and devotion which a sovereign could require. 

In their address to the inhabitants of Great Britain, after 



recapitulating former injuries, and stating more recent acts of 
hostilityt they ask : '< Can the descendants of Britain tamely 
submit to this? No, we never will ; while we revere the me- 
mory of our gallant and virtuous ancestors, we never can sur* 
render those glorious privileges for which they fought, bled, 
and conquered. Admit that your fleets and armies can destroy 
our towns, and ravage our coasts : these are inconsiderable 
objects, things of no moment, to men whose bosoms glow 
with the ardour of liberty. We can retire beyond the reach 
of your navy, and, without any sensible diminution of the 
necessaries t)f life, enjoy a luxury which, from that period, you 
will want — the luxury of being free." They again repel the 
charge of aiming at independence : 

<* Our enemies," say they, ** charge us with sedition. In 
what does it consist ? In our refusal to submit to unwarrant- 
able acts of injustice and cruelty ? If so, show us a period in 
your history in which you have not been equally seditious. 

*' We are accused of aiming at independence ; but how is 
this accusation supported ? By the allegations of your minis- 
ters, not by our actions. Abused, insulted, and contemned, 
what steps have we pursued to obtain redress ? We have 
carried our dutiful petitions to the throne. We have applied 
to your justice for relief. We have retrenched our luxury, 
and withheld our trade. 

** The advantages of our commerce were designed as a com- 
pensation for your protection : when you ceased to protect, 
for what were we to compensate ? 

** What has been the success of our endeavours ? The cle- 
mency of our sovereign is unhappily diverted ; our petitions 
are treated with indignity ; our prayers answered by insults. 
Our application to you remains unnoticed, and leaves us the 
melancholy apprehension of your wanting either the will, or 
the power, to assist us." 

After reminding them, that the loss of liberty in America 
would only be a prelude to its loss in Great Britain, they con- 
clude : " A cloud hangs over your head and ours ; ere this 
reaches you, it may probably burst upon us ; let us then, (be- 
fore the remembrance of former kindness is obliterated,) once 


more repeat these appellations, which are erer grateful to. our 
ears ; let us entreat heaven to avert our ruin, and the destruc* 
tion that threatens our friends, brethren, and countrymen, on 
the other side of the Atlantic." 

Having thus done all which the most scrupulous conscienee 
could demand, congress proceeded to adopt measures to place 
the country in a proper attitude of defence, by organizing an 
army, and appointing the necessary military officers. On the 
15th of June, George Washington, by the united voice of 
congress, was appointed commander-in-chief of the army 
then raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American li- 

Washington was, at that time, a member of congress, and 
in a measure prepared to decide on the important question of 
acceptance. On the day following, he appeared in the house, 
and, standing in his place, said, that he thanked congress for 
the honour they had conferred upon him ; but that he felt 
great distress, from a consciousness that his abilities and mi- 
litary experience were not equal to the extensive and impor- 
tant tiust ; '* however, as the congress desire it, I will enter 
upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess 
in their service, and for the support of the glorious cause. I 
beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distin- 
guished testimony of their approbation. 

*' But lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable 
to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gen- 
tleman in the room, that I this day declare, with the utmost 
sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am 
honoured with. 

*^ As to pay, sir, I beg leave to ai?sure the congress, that as 
no (pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept 
this arduous employment, at the expense of my domestic ease 
and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it; I will 
keep an exact account of my expenses. These, I doubt not, 
they will discharge, and that is all I desire." 

During the winter of 1T76, the subject of a Declaration 
OF Independence, occupied the attention of many men in 
all parts of the country. The ablest pens also were employed 



on this momentous subject The propriety and neeessity of 
the measure was enforced in the numerous gazettes, and in 
pamphlets. Among the latter. Common Sense, from the 
popular pen of Thomas Paine, produced a wonderful effect 
in the different colonies in favour of independence. Influen- 
tial individuals urged it as a step absolutely necessary to pre* 
serve the rights and liberties of America, and effectually- 
secure her happiness and prosperity^ 

In the ensuing spring, several of the colonies, by means of 
their assemblies, expressed their sentiments in favour of in« 
dependence, and instructed their delegates in the general con- 
gress to propose to that respectable body, to declare the 
onited colonies free and independent states. 

On the seventh of June, Richard Henry Lee, one of the 
delegates from Virginia, brought the great question of indepen- 
dence before the house, by submitting the following resolu- 
tion : ** That these united colonies are, and of right ought to 
be, free and independent states ; that they are absolved from 
all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political con- 
nexion between them and the state of Great Britain is, and 
ought to be, totally dissolved." 

This resolution was postponed until the next day, when it 
was debated in committee of the whole. On the 10th, it was 
adopted by a bare majority of the colonies. To give time for 
greater unanimity, the resolution was postponed in the house, 
untO the first of July. In the mean time, a committee, consist* 
ing of Mr. Jefferson, John Adams, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Sher- 
man, and R. R. Livingston, was appointed to prepare a 
declaration of independence. The committee thus appointed, 
selected Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson, as a sub-committee. 
The draft made by Mr. Jefferson, was the one reported to 
congress. It was discussed on the second, and third, and 
fourth days of the month, in committee of the whole ; and on 
the last of those days, being reported from that committee, it 
received the final approbation and sanction of congress. It 
was ordered at the same time, that copies be sent to the seve- 
ral states, and tliat it be proclaimed at the head of the army. 
The declaration thus published, did not bear the names of the 


members, for as yet it had not been signed by them. It was 
authenticated, like other papers of the congress, by the signa- 
tures of the president and secretary. On the 19th of July, 
as appears by the secret journal, congress " Resolved^ That 
the declaration, passed on the fourth, be fairly engrossed on 
parchment, with the title and style of ' The unanimous decla- 
ration of the thirteen United States of America ;' and that the 
same, when engrossed, be signed by every member of con- 
gress." And on the second day of August following, the 
declaration being engrossed and compared at the table, was 
signed by the members. 

The declaration thus adopted, and which gave birth to a 
new empire, was as follows : 

** When, in the course of human events, it becomes ne- 
cessary for one people to dissolve the political blinds which 
have connected them with another, and to assume, among 
the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to 
which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, 
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, reqiures that 
they should declare the causes which impel them to the 

" We hold these truths to be self-evident : — that all men 
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator 
with certain unalienable rights ; that among these are life, 
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these 
rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their 
just powers fix)m the consent of the governed ; that when- 
ever any form of government becomes destructive of these 
ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and 
to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such 
principles, and organizmg its powers in such form, as to 
them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happi- 
ness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that governments loi^ 
established should not be changed for light and transient 
causes ; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that 
mankind are more disposed to suffer while etils are suffera- 
I 6* 


ble, than to right themgelfes by abolishhig the forms to wMeh 
they are acciistome<](. But when a long train of abuses and 
usurpations, pursuing inTariably the same object, evinces a 
design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their 
right, it is their duty, to throw off such goremment, and to 
provide new guards for their future security. Such has 
been the patient sufferance of these colonies ; and such is 
now the necessity which constndns them to alter their 
former systems of government The history of the present 
king of Great Britain, is a history of repeated injuries and 
usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of 
an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let 
facts be submitted to a candid world. 

*^ He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome 
and necessary for the public good. 

^ He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate 
andpressii^ importance, unless suspended in their operation, 
till his assent should be obtained ; and when so suspended, 
he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused 
to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts 
of people, unless those people would relinquish the i^ht oi 
representation in the legislature — a right inestimable to them« 
and formidable to tyrants only. 

** He hascalled together legislative bodiesat places unusual, 
uncomfortable, and distant from the repository of their pub- 
lic records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into com- 
pliance with his measures. , 

" He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for 
opposing, with manly fimmess, his invasions on the rights of 
the people. 

** He has refused, for a long time after such dissolutions, to 
cause others to be elected ; whereby the legidative powers, 
incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at 
large, for their exercise, the state remainmg, in the mean 
time, exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, 
and convuhionB within. 


*' He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these 
states, for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturaliza* 
tion of foreigners ; refusing to pass others to encourage tiieir 
migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropria- 
tions of lands. 

^* He has obstructed the administration of justice, by re-^ 
fusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. 

** He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the 
tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their 

^^ He has erected a multitude of new offices ; and sent 
hither swarms of officers, to harass our people, and eat out 
their substance. 

*^ He has kept among us, m times of peace, standing ar- 
mies, without the consent of our le^atures. 

** He has affected to render the military independent of, 
and superior to, the civil power. 

^* He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdic- 
tion foreign to our, constitution, and unacknpwledged by 
our laws ; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legis- 
lation : 

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us : 
For protectmg them, by a ftiock trial, from punishment 
for any murders which they should commit on the inhabi- 
tants of these states : 

For cuttmg off our trade with all parts of the world : 
For imposing taxes on us without our consent : 
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of trial 
by jury : 

** For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretend- 
ed offences : 

*^ For abolishing the free system of English laws in a 
neighbouring province, establishing therein an arbitrary go- 
remment, and enlar^g its boundaries, so as to render it at 
once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same 
absolute rule into these colonies : 



% • 


^'For taking away our charters, abolishing our most 
valuable laws, and altering, fundamentally, the forms of our 
governments : 

^^For suspendmg our own legislatures, and declaring 
themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases 

'* He has abdicated govenifment here, by declaring us out 
of hb protection, and waging war against us. 

*^ He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt 
our towns, smd destroyed the lives of our people. 

'' He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign 
mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation, and 
tyranny, already begun, with circumstances of cruelty and 
perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and 
totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation. 

^^ He has constrained our fellow-citizens, taken captive on 
the high seas, to bear arms against their tountry, to become 
the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall 
themselves by their hands. 

^^ He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and 
has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers 
the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare 
IS an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and con- 

" In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned 
for redress in the most humble terms : our repeated petitions 
have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, 
whose character is thus marked by every act which may 
define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a fr^e people. 

" Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British 
brethren. We have warned them, from time to time, 
of attempts by their legislature to extend an imwarrantable 
jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the cir- 
cumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We 
have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and 
we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred 


to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably inter- 
rupt our connexions and correspondence. They too have 
been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We 
inust, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity which denounces 
our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of man- 
kind — enemies in war, in peace friends. 

" We, therefore, th6 representatives of tlie United Statesof 
America, in general congress assembled, appealing to the 
Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our inten- 
tions, do, in the name and by the authority of the good peo- 
ple of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that 
these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and 
independent states ; that they are absoVed from all alle- 
giance to the British crown, and that all political connexion 
between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to 
be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent 
states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, 
contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other 
acts and things, which independent states may of right do. 
And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance 
on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge 
to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred 




John Hancock^ 
Samvei. Adams, 
John Adams, 
Robert Treat Paine, 
Elbridoe Gerry. 


The eyents leading to the declaration of independence, 
which hare been rapidly passed in reyiew, in the preceding 
pages, have brought us to the more particular notice of those 
distinguished men, who signed their names to that instrument, 
and thus identified themselves with the glory of this Ameri- 
can republic. 

If the world has seldom witnessed a train of events of a 
more novel and interesting character, than those which led 
to the declaration of Aoierican independence, it has, perhaps, 
never seen a body of men, placed in a more difficult and res- 
ponsible situation, than were the signers of that instrument 
And certainly, the world has never witnessed a more brilliant 
exhibition of political wisdom, or a brighter example of firm- 
ness and courage. 

The Brst instant the American colonies gave promise of 
futUiiB importance and respectability, the jealousy of Great Bri- 
tain was excited, and the counsels of her statesmen were em- 
ployed to keep them in humble subj^ption. This was the object, 
when royalty grasped at their charters ; when restrictions 


were laid upon their commerce and manufactare8 ; when, hj 
taxation, their resources were attempted to be withdrawn, and 
the doctrine inculcated, thai it was rebellion for them to think 
and act for themselves. 

It was fortunate for the Americans, that they understood 
their own rights, and had the courage to assert them. But 
even at the time of the declaration of independence, just as 
was the cause of the colonies, it was doubtful how the contest 
would terminate. The chance of eventual success was against 
them. Less than three millions of people constituted their 
population, and these were scattered over a widely ex- 
tended territory. They were divided into colonies, which 
nad no political character, and no other bond of union than 
common sufferings, common danger, and common necessities. 
They had no veteran army, no navy, no arsenals filled with 
the munitions of war, a^d no fortifications on their extended 
coast. They had no overflowing treasiyies ; but in the out- 
set, were to depend upon loans, taxation, and voluntary con- 

Thus circumstanced, could success in such a contest be rea- 
sonably anticipated ? Could they hope to compete with thie 
parent country, whose strength was consolidated by the lapse 
of centuries, and to whose wealth and power so many mil- 
lions contributed ? That country directed, in a great measure, 
the destinies of Europe : 'her influence extended to every 
quarter of the world. Her armies were trained to the art of 
war ; her navy rode in triumph on every sea ; her statesmen 
were subtle and sagacious ; her genejcals skilful and practised. 
And more than all, her pride was aroused by the fact, that all 
Europe was an interested spectator of the scene, and was 
urging her forward to vindicate the policy she had adoptedt 
and the principles which she had advanced. 

But what will not union and firmness, valour and patriotism* 
accomplish? What will not faith accomplish? The colonies 
were, indeed, aware of the crisis at which they had arrived. 
They 8aw the precipice upon which they stood. National 
existence was at stake. Life, and liberty, and peace, were kJi 
hazard ; not only those of the generation which then existedt 



but of the unnumbered milKons which were yet to be bom. 
To hearen they could, with pious confidence^ make their 
solemn appeal. They trusted .in the arm of Hm, who had 
planted their fathers in this distant land, and besought Him to 
guvAe the men, who in his providence were called to preside 
orer their public councils. 

It was fortunate for them, and equally fortunate for the 
/cause of rational liberty, that the delegates to the congress of 
1776, were adequate to the great work which devolved upon 
them. They were not popular favourites, brought into notice 
during a season of tumult and violence ; nor men chosen in 
times of tranquillity, when nothing 19 tobe apprehended from 
a mistaken selection. '* But they were men to whom others 
might cling in times of peril, and look up to in the revolu* 
tion of empires ; m^i whose countenances in marble, as on 
canvass, may be dwelt upon by after ages, as the history of 
the times." They were legislators and senators by birth, 
raised up by heaven for the accomplishment of a special and 
important object ; to rescue a people ?groaning under oppres* 
sion ; and with the aid of their illustrious compeers, destined 
to establish rational liberty on a new basis, in an American 

They, too, weR knew the responsibility of their station, 
and the fate which awaited themselves, if not their country, 
should their experiment fail. They came, therefore, to the 
question of a declaration of independence, like men who 
had counted the cost; prepared to rejoice, without any 
unholy triumph, should God smile upon the transaction ; 
prepared also, if defeat should follow, to lead in the way to 

A signature to the declaration of independence, without 
reference to general views, was, to each individual, a personal 
consideration of the most momentous import. It would be 
regarded in England as treason^ and expose any man to the 
halter or the block. The only signature, which exhibits in- 
dications of a trembling hand, is that o{ Stephen Hopkins, whc 
had been afflicted with the palsy. In this work of treason, 
John Hancock led the way, as president of the congress, and by 
K C 


the force w^th which he wrote, he teem* to have determiaed 
that his name should never he erased** 

This gentleman, who, from his conspicuous station in the 
continental congress of 17T6, claims our first notice, was 
bom in the town of Quincy, in the state of Massachusetts, in 
the year 1737. Both his father and grandfather were clergy- 
men, distinguished for great devotion to the duties of their 
profession, and for the happy influence which they exercised 
over those to whom they ministered. Of his father it is re- 
corded, that he evinced no common devotion to learning, to 
which cause he rendered essential service, hy the patronage 
Aat he gave to the literary institutions oi his native state. 

Of so judicious a counsellor, young Hancock was deprived, 
while yet a child , hut happily he was adopted hy a paternal 
uncle, Thomas Hancock, the most opulent merchant in Bos- 
ton, and the most enterprising in New-England. Mr. Thomas 
Hancock was a man of enlarged views ; and was distinguished 
by his liberality to several institutions, es|^ecially to Harvard 
college, in which he founded a professorship, and in whose 
library his name is still conspicuous as a principal benefactor. 

Under the patronage of the uncle, the nephew received a 
liberal education in the above university, where he was 
graduated in 1754. During his collegiate course,^ though res- 
pectable as a scholar, he was in no wise distinguished, and at 
that time, gave little promise of the eminence to which he af- 
terwards arrived. 

On leaving college, he was entered as a clerk in.the count- 
ing house of his uncle, where he continued till 1760 ; at which 
time he visited England, both for the purposes of acquiring 
information, and of becoming personally acquainted with the 
distinguished correspondents of his patron. In 1764, he re- 
turned to America ; shortly after which his uncle died, leaving 
to his nephew his extensive mercantile concerns, and his 
princely fortune, then the largest estate in the province. 

To a young man, only twenty-seven, this sudden possession 

* The pen, with which these signataree were madej has been prcserrci^ 
and is »ow in the cabinet of the Massachusetts Historical Society. 

Joan nAvcoo%0 T9t 

ot weakh was full of danger ; and to not a feM( would have 
proved their ruin But Hancock became neither giddy, ar« 
rogant, nor profligate ; and he continued his former course of 
regularity, industry, and moderation. Many depended upon 
him, as they had done upon his uncle, for employment To 
these he was kind and liberal ; while in his more extended 
and complicated commercial transactions, he maintained a 
high reputation for honour and integrity* 

The possession of wealth, added to the upright and honour- 
able character which he sustained, naturally gave him inilu 
ence in the community, and rendered him even popular. lu 
1766, he was placed by the suffrages of his fellow citizens in 
the legislature of Massachusetts, and this event seems to have 
given a direction to his future career. 

He thus became associated with such individuals as Otis, 
Gushing, and Samuel Adams, men of great political distinc 
Uon, acute discrimination, and patriotic feeling. In such an 
atmosphere, the genius of Hancock brightened rapidly, and 
he soon became conspicuous among his distinguished col« 
leagues. It has, indeed, been asserted, that in force of genius^ 
he was inferior to many of his contemporaries ; but honoura- 
ble testimony was given, both to the purity of his principleSf 
and the excellence of his abilities, by his frequent nomination 
to committees, whose deliberations deeply involved the wei> 
fiure of the community. 

The arrival of a vessel belonging to Mr. Hancock, in the 
year 1768, which was said to be loaded contrary to the 
revenue laws, has already been noticed in our introduction* 
This vessel was seized by the custom-house officers, and placed 
under the guns of the Romney, at that time in the harbour, 
for security. The seizure of this vessel greatly exasperated 
ihe people, and in their excitement, they assaulted the revenue 
officers with violence, and compelled them to seek their safety 
on board the armed vessel, or in a neighbouring castle. The 
boat of the collector was destroyed, and several houses be- 
longing to his partisans were razed to their foundation. 

In these proceedings, Mr. Hancock himself was in no wise 
engaged; and he probably condemned them as rash and un- 

T8 MABBACUVnm dxlsoation. 

warrantable. But the transaction contributed greatly to bring 
him into notice^ and to increase his popularity. 

This, and several similar occmrences, senred as a pretext to 
the governor to introduce into Boston, not long after, several 
regiments of British troops ; a measure which was fitted more 
than all others to irritate the inhabitants. Frequent colli- 
sions, as might be expected, soon happened between the sol- 
diers and the citizens, the former of whom were insolent, and 
the latter independent These contentions not long after 
broke out into acts of violence. An unhappy instance of this 
violence occurred on the evening of the 5th of March, 1770, 
at which time, a small party of British soldiers was assailed 
by several of the citizens, with balls of snow, and other 
weapons. The citizens were fired upon by order of the com- 
manding officer : a few were killed, and several others were 

Although the provocation, in this instance, was given by 
the citizens, the whole town was simultaneously aroused to 
seek redress. At the instigation of Samuel Adams, and Mr. 
Hancock, an assembly of the citizens was convened the fol- 
lowing day, and these two gentlemen, with some others, were 
appointed a committee to demand of the governor the re* 
moval of the troops. Of this committee, Mr. Hancock was 
the chairman. 

A few days after the* above affray, which is usually termed 
'* the Boston massacre," the bodies of the slain were buried 
with suitable demonstrations of public grief. In commemo- 
ration of the event, Mr. Hancock was appointed to deliver an 
address. After speaking of his attachment to •a righteous 
government, and of his enmity to tyranny, he proceeded in 
the following animated strain : *' The town of Boston, e?er 
faithful to the British crown, has been invested by a British 
fleet; the troops of George the third have crossed the Atlantic, 
not to engage an enemy, but to assist a band of traitors in 
trampling on the rights and liberties of his most loyal subjects; 
those rights and liberties, which, as a father, he ought ever to 
regard, and as a king, he is bound in honour to defend from 
violation, even at the risk of his own life. 


** These troops, upon their first arriTiil, took possession of 
our senate house, pointed their cannon iig;aiilst the judgment 
hall, and even continued them there, whilst the supreme court 
of the province was actually sitting to decide upon the lives 
and fortunes of the king's subjects. Our streets nightly re- 
sounded with the noise of their rio|: and debauchery ; our 
peaceful citizens were hourly exposed to shameful insults, and 
often felt the effects of their violence and outrage. But this 
was not all; as though they thought it not enough to violate 
our civil rights, they endeavoured to deprive us of the enjoy- 
ment of our religious privileges ; to vitiate our morals, and 
thereby render us deserving of destruction. Hence the rude 
din of arms, which broke in upon your solemn devotions in 
your temples, on that day hallowed by heaven, and set apart 
by God himself for his peculiar worship. Hence, impious oaths 
and blasphemies, so often tortured your unaccustomed ear 
Hence, all the arts which idleness and luxury could invent, 
were used to betray our youth of one sex into extravagance 
and effeminacy, and of the odier to infamy and ruin ; and have 
they not succeeded but too well? Has not a reverence for 
religion sensibly decayed? Have not our infants almost learn- ^ 
ed to lisp curses, before they knew their horrid import ? Have 
not our youth forgotten they were Americans, and regardless 
of the admonitions of the wise and aged, co'pied, with a servile 
imitation, the frivolity find vices of their tyrants ? And must I 
be compelled to acknowledge, that even the noblest, fair- 
est part of all creation, have not endrely escaped their cruel 
snares ? — or why have I seen an honest father clothed with 
shame; why a virtuous mother drowned in tears? 

** But I forbear, and come reluctantly to the transactions of 
that dismal night, when in such quick succession we felt the 
extremes of grief, astonishment, and rage ; when heaven in 
anger, for a dreadful moment suffered hell to take the reins ; 
when satan, with his chosen band, opened the sluices of New- 
England's blood, and sacrilegiously polluted our land with the 
dead bodies of her guiltless sons. 

*'Let this sad tale of death never be told, without a tear; 
let not the heaving bosom cease to bum with a manly indigna* 



tion at the relation of it, through the long tracks of future 
time ; let every parent tell t&e shameful story to his listening 
children, till tears of pity glisten in their eyes, or boUing pas- 
sion shakes their tender frames. 

** Dark and designing knares, murderers, parricides ! How 
dare you tread upon the earth, which has drunk the blood of 
slaughtered innocence shed by your hands ? How dare you 
breathe that air, which wafted to the ear of heaven the groans 
of those who fell a sacrifice to your accursed ambition ? — ^But 
if the labouring earth doth not expand her jaws; if the air you 
breathe is not commissioned |o be the minister of death ; yet, 
hear it, and tremble ! The eye of heaven penetrates the dark- 
est chambers of the soul ; and you, though screened from 
human observation, must be arraigned, must lift your hands, 
red with the blood of those whose death you have procured, at 
the tremendous bar of God. 

*'But I gladly quit this theme of death — ^I would not dwell 
too long upon the horrid effects, which have already followed, 
from quartering regular troops in this town ; let our misfor- 
tunes instruct posterity to guard against these evils. Stand- 
mg armies are sometimes, (I would by no meuis say general- 
ly, much less universally,) composed of persons who have 
rendered themselves unfit to live in civil society ; who are 
equally indifferent to the glory of a George, or a Louis; who 
for the addition of one penny a day to their wages, would de- 
sert from the Christian cross, and fight under the crescent of 
the Turkish sultan ; from such men as these what has not a 
state to fear t With such as these, usurping Caesar passed the 
Rubicon ; with such as these he humbled mighty Rome, and 
forced the mistress of the world to own a master in a traitor.* 
These are the men whom sceptred* robbers now employ to 
frustrate the designs of God, and render vain the bounties 
which his gracious hand pours indiscriminately upon his 

Previously to this address, doubts had been entertained by 
some, as to the perfect patriotism of Mr. Hancock. It was 
said that the governor of the province had, either by studied 
civilities, or by direct overtures, endeavoured to attach him to 


dM royal cause. For a time insinuatioiis of this derogatory 
character were circulatecl abroad, highly detrimental to his 
fttme. The manners and habits of Mr. Hancock had, not a 
little, contributed to countenance the malicious imputations 
His fortune was princely. His mansion displayed the mag 
nificence of a courtier, rather than the simplicity of a repub 
lican. Gold and silver embroidery adorned his garments* 
and on public occasions, his carriage and horses, and servants 
in livery, emulated the sp^ndour of the English nobility* 
Tho eye of envy saw not this magnificence with indifference f 
nor was it strange that reports unfriendly to his patriotic in* 
tegrity should have been circulated abroad ; especially as from 
his wealth and fashionable intercourse, he had more con«- 
nexion with the governor and his party than many others. 

The sentiments, however, expressed by Hancock in the 
above address, were so explicit and so patriotic, as to convince 
the most incredulous ; and a renovation of his popularity was 
the consequence. 

Hancock, from this time, became as odious to the royal go* 
vemorand his- adherents, as he was dear to the republican party* 
It now became an object of some importance to the royal go- 
vernor, to get possession of the persons of Mr. Hancock and 
Samuel Adams ; and this is said to have been intended in the 
expedition to Concord, which led to the memorable battle of 
Lexington, the opening scene of the revolutionary war. Not- 
withstanding the secrecy with which that expedition was plan- 
ned, these patriots, who were at the time members of the pro - 
▼ineial congress at Concord, fortunately made their escape ; 
bat it was only at the moment the British troops entered the 
house where they lodged. Following this battle. Governor 
Ciage issued his proclamation, offering a general pardon to ali 
who should manifest a proper penitence for their opposition to 
the royal authority, excepting the above two gentlemen, whose 
pnUt placed them beyond the reach of the royal clemency. 

In October, 1774, Hancock was unanimously elected to the 
presidential chair of the provincial congress of Massachusetts. • 
The following y^r, the still higher honour of the presidency 
of the continental congress was conferred upon him. In this 


bodjT, were men of superior genius, and of still greater expe- 
rien<*e than Aancock. There were Franklin, and Jefferson, 
and Dickinson, and many others, men of pre-eminent abilities 
and superior political sagacity; but the recent proclamation 
of Ooremor Gage, proscribing Hancock and Adams, had 
giren those gentlemen great popularity, and presented a suffi- 
cient reason to the continental congress, to express their re- 
spect for them, by the election of the former to the presiden- 
tial chair. 

In this distinguished station Hancock continued till October, 
17n ; at which time, in consequence of infn-m health, induced 
by an unremitted application to business, he resigned his 
office, and, with a popularity seldom enjoyed by any indivi- 
dual, retired to his native province. 

Of the convention, which, about this time, was appointed to 
frame a constitution for the state of Massachusetts, Hancock 
was a member. Under this constitution, in 1780, he was the 
first governor of the commonwealth, to which office he was 
annually elected, until the year 1785, when he resigned. 
After an interval of two years, he was re-elected to the same 
office, in which he was continued to the time of his death, 
which took place on the 8th of October, 1793, and in the 65tli 
year of his age. 

Of the character of Mr. Hancock, the limits which we have 
prescribed to ourselves, will permit us to say but little more. 
It was an honourable trait in that character, that while he pos- 
sessed a superfluil^ of wealth, to the unrestrained ei\jo3rment 
of which he came at an unguarded period of life, he avoided 
excessive indulgence and dissipation. His habits, through 
life, were uniformly on the side of virtue. In his disposition 
and manners, he was kind and courteous. He claimed no 
superiority from his advantages, and manifested no arrogance 
on account of his wealth. 

His enemies accused him of an excessive fondness for 
popularity ; to which fondness, envy and malice were not 
backward in ascribing his liberality on various occasions. 
Whatever may have been the justice of such an imputation, 
many examples of the generosity of his character are record- 

lAMUSL ADAXf • 81 

•d. Hundreds of fiunilies, it is said, in times of distress* were 
daily fed from hb munificence. In promoting the liberties of 
his country, no one, perhaps, actually expended more wealth, 
or was willing to make greater sacrifices. An instance of his 
public spirit, in 1775, is recorded, much to his praise. 

At that time, the American army was besieging Boston, to 
expel the British, who held possession of the town. To ac- 
complish this object, the entire destruction of the city was 
proposed by the American officers. By the execution of such 
a plan, the whole fortune of Mr. Hancock would have been 
sacrificed. Yet he immediately acceded to the measure, de- 
claring his readiness to surrender his all, whenever the liber- 
ties of his country should require it. 

It is not less honourable to the character of Mr. Hancockf 
that while wealth and independence powerfully tempted him to 
a life of indolence, he devoted himself for many years, almost 
without intermission, to the most laborious service of hb 
country. Malevolence, during some periods of his public life, 
aspersed his character, and imputed to him motives of con- 
duct to which he was a stranger. Full justice was done to 
hb memory athb death, in the expressions of grief and affec- 
tion which were offered over his remains, by the multitudes 
who thronged hb house while his body lay in state, and who 
followed his remains to the grave. 


Among those who signed the declaration of independence, 
nd were conspicuous in the revolution, there existed, of 
course, a great diversity of intellectual endowments ; nor 
did all render to their country, in those perilous days, the 
same important services. Like the luminaries of heaven, 
each contributed his portion of influence; but, like them, they 
differed, as star differeth from star in glory. But in the con- 


■telktion of great men, which adorned that era, few shoiM 
with more brilliancy, or exercised a more powerful iofluence^ 
than Samuel Adams* 

This gentleman was born at Qnincytin Massachusetts, Sep- 
tember 22d, 172% in the neighbourhood afterwards rendered 
memorable as the birth place of Hancock, and as the resi* 
dence of the distinguished family which has given two pre* 
sidents to the United States. His descent was from a re* 
spectable family, which emigrated to America with the finil 
settlers of the land. 

In the year 1736, he became a member of Hanrard 
Unirersity, where he was distinguished for an uncommon 
attention to all his collegiate exercises, and for his classical 
and scientific attainments. On taking the degree of master, 
in 1743, he proposed the following question, '^Whether 
it be lawful to resist the supreme magistrate, if the com- 
monwealth cannot be otherwise preserved ?'' He main* 
tained the affirmative ; and in this collegiate exercise Air- 
nished no dubious evidence of his attachment to the liberties of 
the people. 

On leaving the university, he began the study ot law, for 
which profession his father designed him ; but at the solicita- 
tion of his mother, this pursuit was relinquished, and he be- 
came a clerk in the counting house of Thomas Gushing, at 
that time a distinguished merchant. But his genius was not 
adapted to mercantile pursuits ; and in a short time after 
commencing business for himself, partly owing to the failure 
in business of a friend, and partly to injudicious management, . 
he lost the entire capital which had been given him by his 

The genius of Adams was naturally bent on politics. It 
was with him an all engrossing subject. From his earliest 
youth, he had felt its inspiration. It occupied his thoughts, 
enlivened his conversation, and employed his pen. In re- 
^spect to his private business, this was an unfortunate trait of 
character ; but most fortunate for his country, since he thus 
acquired an extensive knowledge of those principles of Mo- 
tional liberty, which he afterwards asserted with so much 

iAXVkt ADAK8. 83 

energy, in opposition to the arbitrary conduct of the British 
I In 1763 it was announced, that the British ministry had it 

in view to " tax the colonies, for the purpose of raising a 
revenue, which was to be placed at the disposal of the 
crown." This news filled the colonies with alarm. In Mas- 
sachusetts, a committee was appointed by the people of Bos- 
ton to express the public sentiment in relation to this con- 
templated measure, for the guidance of the representatives to 
the general court. The instructions of this committee wfere 
drawn by Mr^ Adams. They formed, in truth, a powerful 
remonstrance against the injustice of the contemplated system 
of taxation ; and they merit the more particular notice, as they 
were the first recorded public document, which denied the 
right of taxation to the British parliament. They also con- 
tained the first suggestion of the propriety of that m\itual un- 
derstanding and correspondence among the colonies, which 
laid the foundation of their future confederacy. In these in- 
^ structions, after alluding to the evils which had resulted from 
the acts of the British parliament, relating to trade, Mzu 
Adams observes : — "If our trade may be taxed, why not our 
lands ! Why not the produce of our lands, and eyery thing 
we possess, or use ? This we conceive annihilates our char- 
ter rights to govern and tax ourselves. It strikes at our Bri- 
tish privileges, which, as we have never forfeited, we hold in 
common with our fellow subjects, who are natives of Britain. 
If taxes are laid upon us in any shape, without our having a 
legal representation, where they are laid, we are reduced from 
the character of free subjects, to the state of tributary slaves. 
We, therefore, earnestly recommend it to you, to use your 
utmost endeavours to obtain from the general court, all neces- 
sary advice and instruction to our agent, at this most critical 
juncture." •* We also desire you to use your endeavours, that 
the other colonies, having the same interests and rights 
with US, may add their weight to that of this province ; 
that by united application of all whe are agreed, all may 
obtain redress !" 
The deep interest which Mr. Adams felt and manifested for 


the rights of the colonies, soon brought him into farour witli 
the patriotic party. He became a leader in their popular aa* 
semblies, and was bold in denouncing the unjust acts of the 
British minLBtry. 

In 1765 he was elected a representative to the general couK 
of Massachusetts, from the town of Boston. From this pe- 
riod, during the whole revolutionary struggle, he was the 
bold, persevering, and efficient supporter of the rights of his 
oppressed country. As a member of the court, he soon be» 
came conspicuous, and was honoured with the office of clerk 
to that body. In the legislature, he was characterized fov 
the same activity and boldness which he had manifested ia 
the town. He was appointed upon almost every committeei 
assisted in drawing nearly evqry report, and exercised a larg^ 
share of influence, in almost every meeting, which had for its 
object the counteraction of the unjust plans of the admiuistn^ 

But it was not in his legislative capacity alone, that Mr. 
Adams exhibited his hostility to the British government, and 
his regard for rational freedom. Several able essays on these 
subjects were published by him ; and he was the author of 
several plans for opposing, more successfully, the unjust de- 
signs of the mother country. He has the honour of having 
suggested the first congress at New-York, which prepared the 
way for a Continental Congress, ten years after ; and at length 
for the union and confederacy of the colonies. 

The injudicious management of his private aflfairs, already 
alluded to, rendered Mr. Adams poor. AVhen this was known 
In England, the partisans of the ministry proposed to bribe 
him, by the gift of some lucrative office. A suggestion of 
this kind was accordingly made to Governor Hutchinson, to 
which he replied in a manner highly complimentary to the 
integrity of Mr. Adams. ^* Such is the obstinacy and infiesh 
ibU disposition of the man, that he never can be conciliated 
by any office or gift whatever." The offer, however, it is 
reported, was actually made to Mr. Adams, but neither the 
allurements of fortune or power could for a moment tempt 

Um to ^i^xAxm ihe cause of truth, or to Jnqsard 4&e liliertief 
.4)£ tbe people. 

He was indeed poor ; but he ooidd l^ tempted neither bjr 
British gold» nor bj the honours or profits of anf office with* 
la the gift of the royal governor. Such patriotism has nol 
been cpmmoa in the world ; but in America it was to he 
found in many a b^.som, during the reyolutionary struggle* 
JSiekuoYf ledge of fjiM^ts like this, greatly diminishes the woOf 
der, which has .soB»etimes been expressed, that America 
should have successfully contended with Great jbritain. Her 
physical cKtrength was comparatively weak; but the moral 
eoun^e of her statesmen, and her soldiers, was to her instead 
4>f numbers, of we^ltbt and fortifications. 

Allusicm has been made, both in our introduction, and in 
our notice of Hancock, to the Boston massacre, in 1770, aa 
event which will long remain memorable in the annals ,of the 
revidution, not only as it was the first instance of bloodshed 
between the British and the Americans, but as it conduced to 
increase die irritation, and to widen .the. breach between the 
two countries. 

Oipr limits foirbid a more particular account of this tragical 
afl&ir ; and it is again .alluded to only for the purpose of brings 
tag more distinctly into view, the intrepid and decisive con- 
duct of 9a0>uel Adams on that occasion. 

Qn the morning following this night of bloodshed, a meal- 
ing of the citizens of Bosion was called. Mingled emotions 
«fhorror and. indignation pervaded the assembly. Samuel 
Adams first arose to address the listening multitude. Few 
men could harangue a popular assembly with greater energy, 
or epsercise a more absolute control over their passions and 
affecMmna* (M.ihat occasion, a Demosthenes, or a Chatham, 
eottld scarcely have addressed the assembled multitude with a 
more impressive eloquence, orihave represented in a more 
jlBst and emj^tie manner, Uie fearful crisis to whicfa the 
afiiiira of tbe colonies were $uX tending. A .committee wae 
vumimously chosen to wsit i^mm Qovemor Hutdiiaso%'J¥ith 
% request that the troops might be immediately removed from 
tbe town. To the request of this committee, the governor, 



with his usual preTaricatiou, replied^ that the troops were not 
•nbject to his order. Mr. Adams^ who was one of this eoiii»> 
mittee, strongly represented to the goyemor the danger of 
retaining the troops longer in the eapitaL His indignatioii 
was aroused, and in a tone of lofty independence, he declared, 
that the removal of the troops would alone satisfy his insulted 
and indignant townsmen; it was, therefore, at the goremor'a 
peril, that they were continued in the town, and that he alone 
must be answerable for the fatal consequences, which it re 
quired no gift of prophecy to predict must ensue. 

It was now dark. The meeting of the citizens was sttB 
undissolved. The greatest anxiety pervaded the assembly 
and scarcely were they restrained from going in a body to 
the governor, to learn his determination. Aware of the criti 
eal posture of affidrs, aware of the personal hazard which he 
encountered by refusing a compliance, the governor at length 
gave his consent to the removal of the troops, and stipulated 
that the necessary preparations should commence on the fo^ 
lowing morning. Thus, through the decisive and spirited con- 
duct of Samuel Adams, and a few other kindred spirits, the 
obstinacy of a royal governor was subdued, and further hos- 
tilities were for a still longer time suspended. 

The popularity and influence of Mr. Adams were rapidly 
increasing, and the importance of his being detached from the 
popular party became every day more manifest. We have 
already noticed the suggestion to Governor Hutchinson to 
effect this, by the gift of some lucrative office. Other oflfera 
of a simOar kind, it is reported, were made to him, at diflerent 
times, by the royal authorities, but with the same ill success* 
About the year 1773, Governor Giage renewed the ezperimentr 
At that time Colonel Fenton was requested to Wait upon Mr. 
Adams, with the assurance of Governor Gage* that any benefits 
would be conferred upon him which he should demand, on the 
condition of his ceasing to oppose the measures of the royal 
government. At the same time, it was not obscurely hinted^ 
thai such a measure was necessary, on personal considen^ 
tions. He had incurred the royal displeasure, and already, 
tnch had been his conduct, that it was in the poWer of the 


gDyemor to send Urn toEogland for trial, oa a charge of Irei^ 
•on. It was suggested that a change in his political condaet» 
might sare him from this disgrace, and even from a seTerer 
late ; and might elevate him, moreover, from his cireumstan- 
ees of indigence, to the enjoyment of affluence. 

To this proposal, Mr. Adams listened with attention ; but at 
Col. Fenton concluded his communication, with all the spirit 
ef a mail of honour, with all the integrity of the most ineor* 
rupted and incorruptible patriotism, he replied ; ** Go toll 
Governor Gage, that my peace has long since been made with 
the King of kings, and that it is the advice of Samuel Adaiya 
to him, no longer to insuU the /tilings of an already exaepe^ 
ra$Rd people.** 

The independence and sterling integrity of Mr. Adams* 
might well have secured to him the respect, and even confip 
dence of Governor Gage ; but with far different feelings did 
he regard the noble conduct of this high minded patriot 
Under the irritation excited by the failure of a favourite plan* 
Governor Gage issued a proclamation, which comprehended 
the following language: '* I do hereby," he said, ** in his ma« 
jesty's name, ofier and promise his most graeious pardon to 
all persons, who shall forthwith lay down their arms, and re* 
torn to the duties of peaceable subjects : excepting only Irom 
the benefits of such pardon, Samuel A^axs, and J^hn Han- 
cock, whose offences are of too flagitious a nature to admit of 
any other consideration but that of condign punishmenU" 

Thus these independent men were singled out as the 
objects of peculiar vengeance, and even their lives endanger- 
ed, for honourably resisting a temptation, to which, had diey 
yielded, they would have merited the reproach of their coun- 
trymen, and ihe scorn of the world. 

Mr. Adams was a member of the first continental congress, 
which assembled in Philadelphia oa the 5th of September, 
1774 ; and continued a member of that body until the ye«r 
1181. During this period, no ddegate acted a more con- 
spicuous or manly part No one exhibited a more indefati- 
gable zeal, or a firmer tone of character. He early saw that 
the contest would probably not be decided without bloodshed. 

He was biiliself prepftred to efery extremity md wM will* 
iag dmt sveh meararefl nhoM. be adepted» u dioidd lead to 
m early issue of the centroveny. He waa aeeordingly 
among the wan&est adtroeatea for the declaration of American 
independence. Is his view, the die waa cast* and a further 
friendlj connexion with the parent countrj waa impoarihle* 
» I am perfecd J aatisfied/' said he, in a letter written from 
Philadelphia, to a friend in Maaaachnaetta, in April, 1770, 
** of the necessitjr of a public and explicit declaration of inde- 
pendence. I canifot conceive what good reason can beasaign* 
ed against it Will it widen the breach T This would be a 
strange question, after we have raised armies, and foi^ht bat* 
ties with the British troops; set up an American liaTy ; permit 
ted the inhabitants of these colonies to fit out armed vessela, 
t^ capture the ships, dtc. belonging to any of the inhabitanta of 
threat Britain ; declaring Aem the enemiea of the United 
Golonies ; and torn into shivers their acts df trade^ by allowing 
commerce^ subject to regulations to be made by ours^res^ with 
ihe people of all countries, except such as are subject to the 
British king. It cannot surely, afler all this, be imagined 
that we consider ourselves, or mean to be conaidered hy 
others, in any other state, than that of independence." 

The independence of America was at length declared, and 
gave a new political character, and an immediate dignity to 
the cause of the colonies. But notwithstanding this measure 
might itself bear the aspect of victory, a formidable contest 
yet awaited the Americans. The year following t&e deelara- 
tion of independence, the situation of the colonies was eX"-. 
Ireiiiely gloomy. The stoutest hearts trembled within theni» 
and even doubts were expressed, whether the measures, which 
bad been adopted, particularly the dedaratiou of indepea 
dence, were not precipitate. The neighbourhood of Fhila 
delphia became the seat of war ; congress, now reduced to 
only twenty-eight members, had resolved to remove their 
session to Lancaster. At this critical period, Mr. Adams 
accidentally fell in company with several other members, by 
Whom the subject of the state of the country v^as freely and 
confidentially discussed. Gloomy forebodings seemed to 

pervade their miads, and the greatest anxiety was expressed 
as to the issue of the contest 

To this conversation, Mr. Adams Ibtened with silent attend 
tion. At length he expressed his surprise, that such despond* 
mg feelings should have settled upon their hearts, and such 
desponding language should be even confidentially uttered hf 
their lips. To this it was answered, ** The chance is despe- 
rate." ''Indeed, indeed, it is desperate," said Mr. Adams, *'ii 
this be our language. If toe wear long faces, others will do so 
too ; if we despair, let us not expect that others will hope ; or 
diat they will persevere in a contest, from which their leaden 
shrink. But let not such feelings, let not such language, be 
ours." Thus, while the hearts of others were ready to faint* 
Samuel Adams maintained his usual fbrmness. His unshaken 
courage, and his calm reliance upon the aid and protection oft 
heaven, contributed in an eminent degree to inspire his coun* 
tr]nnen with a confidence of dieir final success. A higher 
encomium could not have been bestowed oji any member of 
&e continental congress, than is expressed in relation to Mr. 
Adams by Mr. Galloway, in his historical and political reflee- 
tioBs on the rise and progress of the American rebellion, 
published in Great Britain, 1780. '' He eats little," says the 
author, '' drinks little, sleeps little, thinks much, and is most 
indefatigable in the pursuit of his object. It was this man, who 
by his superior application, managed at once the Actions in 
congress at Philadelphia, and the factions of New-England." 

In 1781, Mr. Adams retired from congress ; but it was to 
receive from his native state, additional proofs of her high 
estimation of his services, and of the confidence which she 
reposed in his talents and integrity He had already been an 
active member of the convention that formed her constitu- 
tion ; and after it went into efifect, he was placed in the se- 
nate of the state, and for several years presided over that 
body. In 1789, he was elected lieutenant governor, and held 
that office till 1794; when, upon the death o( Hancock, he 
was chosen governor, and was annually re-elected till 1797, 
when he retired from public life. This retirement, however. 
M 8» 


he did not kmg enjoy, a« his death oeciurred on Oetober M, 
1803y at the advanced age of 8S^ 

From the foregoing aketehet of Mr. Adams, it will not be 
£ffie«lt for the reader to form a tolerably eorrect opinion of 
his character and disposition. In his person, he is said to 
hare been only of the middle size, but his countenance indi«> 
cated a noble genius within, and a more than ordinary inflesi* 
bility of character and purpose. Great sincerity and simpfi* 
dty marked his manners and deportment In his converaa"* 
lion, he was at once interesting and instructive ; and those 
who shared his friendship had seldom any reason to doubt his 
affection and constancy. His writings were voluminous, but 
Uttfortunately, as they generally related to the temporary 
politics of the day, most of them are lost Those which re* 
main fumi^ abundant proof of his superiority as a writer, of 
the soundness of his political creed, and of the piety and sin- 
oerity of his character. As an orator, he was eminently fit- 
led for the stormy times in which he lived. His elocution 
was concise and impressive^ partaking more of the logical 
than the figurative, and rather calculated to enlighten the un- 
derstanding, than to excite the feelings. Yet no man c<^uld 
address himsdf more powerfully to the passions, than he didf 
on certain occasions* As a statesman, his views were broad 
and enlightened ; what his judgment had once matured, he 
pursued with inflexible firmness, and patriotic ardour. While 
others desponded, he was full of hope ; where others hesita- 
ted, he was resolute ; where others were supine, he was eager 
tor action. His circumstances of indigence led him to habita 
of simplicity and frugality ; but beyond this, he was naturals 
ly avOTse to parade, and ostentation. 

" Mr. Adams was a diristian. His mind was early imbued 
with piety, as well as cultivated by science. He early ap- 
proached the table of the lH>rd Jesus, and the purity of hb 
life witnessed the sincerity of his profession. On the chris* 
tian sabbath, he constantly went to the temple, and the 
morning and evening devotions in his family proved, that hia 
reiigioa attended him in his seaions of retirement from the 


world. The last production of his pen was in favour of 
Christian truth. He died in the faith of the gospel.'* 

In his opposition to British tyranny, no man was tnore 
eonseientious ; he detested royalty, and despised the ostenta* 
tion and contemptible servility of the royal agents ; his pa> 
triotism was of a pure and lofty character. For his country 
he laboured both by night and by day, with a zeal which waa 
scarcely interrupted, and with an energy that knew no fatigue* 
Although enthusiastic, he was still prudent. He would per* 
Buade, petition, and remonstrate, where these would accom^ 
pHsh his object ; but when these ' failed, he was ready ta 
resist even unto blood, and would sooner have sacrificed his 
life than yielded with dishonour. ** Had he lived in any 
country or epoch," sayB his biographer, ** when abuses of 
power were to be resisted, he would have been one of the re- 
formers. He would have suffered excommunication, rather 
than have bowed to papal infallibility, or paid tribute to St. 
Peter ; he would have gone to the stake, rather than sub- 
mit to the prelatic ordinances of Laud; he would have 
mounted the scaffold, sooner than pay a shilling of illegal ship- 
money ; he would have fled to a desert, rather than endure 
the profligate tyranny of a Stuart ; he was proscribed, and 
would sooner have been condemned as a traitor, than assent 
to an illegal tax, if it had been only a sixpenny stamp or an 
insignificant duty on tea ; and there appeared to be no species 
of corruption by which this inflexibility could have been des- 

In the delegation of political power, he may be said to have 
been too cautious, since our constitutions, as he would have 
modelled them, would not have had sufficient inherent force 
for their own preservation. One of his colleagues thus ho- 
nourably described him : ** Samuel Adams would have the 
state of Massachusetts govern the union ; the town of Boston 
gOTem Massachusetts ; and that he should govern &e town 
of Boston, and then the whole would not be intentionaDy ill 

With some apparent austerity, there was nothing of the 
^hit of gloom or arrogance about him. In his demeanooTt 


he combined mildness with firmness, and dignity with eon* 
descension. If sometimes an advocate for measures which 
might be thought too strong, it was, perhaps, because his 
oomprehension extended beyond ordinary minds, and he had 
more energy to effect his purposes, than attaches to commoa 
men. In addition to these qualities, he manifested an uncom- 
mon indifference to pecuniary considerations ; he was poor 
while he lived, and had not the death of an only son re- 
liered his latter day poverty, Samuel Adams, notwith- 
standing his virtues, his patriotism, his unwearied zeal, and hia 
acknowledged usefulness, while he lived, would have had to 
claim a burial at the hand of charity, or at the public expense. 


JoHK Adams was bom at Quincy, then part of the ancient 
town of Braintree, on the 19th day of October, old style, 
1735. He was a descendant of the Puritans, his ancestors 
having early emigrated from England, and settled in Massa- 
chusetts. Discovering early a strong love of reading and of 
knowledge, proper care was taken by his fiither to provide 
for his education. His youthful studies were prosecuted in 
Braintree, under Mr. Marsh, a gentleman whose fortune it 
was to instruct several children, who in manhood were des- 
tined to act a conspicuous part in the scenes of the rerolutioa. 

He became a member of Harvard College, 1751, and was 
graduated in course m 1755 : with what degree of reputa- 
tion he left the university is not now precisely known; we only 
know that he was distinguished in a class of which the 
Reverend Dr. Hemmenway was a member, who bore 
honourable testimony to the openness and decision of his 
character, and to the strength and activity of his mind. 

Having chosen the law for his profession, he commenced . 
and prosecuted its studies under the direction of Samuel 
IHitnam, a barrister of eminence at Worcester. By him be 
was introduced to the celebrated Jeremy Gridley, then attor- . 


My geAeiPsI of the province of Matiadiiiictts Bay. At ibm 
first iilterview they became Mends; Gddley at once proposod 
iCr. Adams for admission to the bar of Sufiblk, and took him 
Into special favour. Soon after his admission, Mr. Grid* 
ley led his young friend into a private chamber with an air 
of secrecy, and, pointing to a book case, said, *' Sur, there is 
the secret of my eminence, and of which you may amfl 
yourself as you please.** It was a pretty good collection of 
treatises of the civil law. In this place Mr. Adams spent his 
days and nights, until he had made himself master of the 
princ^es of the code. 

From early Hfe, the bent of his mind was towards politics, a 
^opensity which the state of the times, if* it did not create^ 
doubtless very much strengthened. While a resident al 
Worcester, he wrote a letter of which the following is an «aih 
tract The letter was dated October I^ 1755. «< 8ooa 
Mfter the refdrmaiion, a few people came over intb this new 
world for conscience sake : perhaps diis apparently trivial 
incident may transfer the gr«at^tf0at of empire Sato iUnerica* 
tt looks likely to me ; for, if we can remove the tnitalent 
Gallicks, our people, according to the exactest co1^putation8^ 
will in another century become more numerous than England 
itself. Should this be the case, since we have, I may say^ all 
the naval stores of the nation in our hands, it will be easy to 
obtain a mastery of the seas ; and the imited force of all 
)Suro|>e win not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep 
OS from setting up for ourselves is to disunite us« 

^ Be not surprised that I am turned politician* This whole 
town is immersed in politics. The interests of nations and 
til the dira of war make the subject of every conversation* 
I sit and hear, and after having been led through a maze of 
sage observations, I sometimes retire, and lay things together, 
and form some reflections pleasing to myself. The produce 
of one of these reveries you have read.'* 

This prognostication of independence, and of so vast an 
increase of numbers, and of naval force, as might defy all 
Europe, is remarkable, especially as coming from so young a 
Dnui, and so early in the history of the country. It is more 



remarkable thai its author should haice lired to see fiilfill«4 
to the letter» what would haVte seemed to others at the time, 
but the extravagance of youthful &ncy. His early political 
feelings were thus strongly American, and from this ardent 
attachment to his native soil he never departed* 

In 1758 he was admitted to the bart and commenced bust* 
ness in Braintree. He is understood to have made his first 
considerable effort^ or to have obtained his most signal suo- 
cess, at Plymouth, in a jury trial, and a criminal cause. la 
1766, Mr. Adams laid before the public his *^ Essay on th^ 
Canon and Feudal La^," a work distinguished for its pow^ 
and eloquence. . The object of this work was to shoWf that 
our New-England ancestors, in consenting to exile theno^ 
•elves from their native land, were actuated mainly by the 
desire of delivering themselves from the power of the 
hierarchy, and from the monarchical, aristocratical, and 
political system of the other continent ; and to make this 
truth bear with effect on the politics of the times. Its tone 
is uncommonly bold and ftaiji^ated for thai pviiod. He calLi 
on the people not only to defend, but to study and understand 
their rights and privileges; and urges earnestly the necessitj 
of diffusing general knowledge. 

In conclusion, he exclaims, '* let the pulpit resound widi 
the doctrines and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us 
hear the danger of thraldom to our consciences, from igno. 
ranee, extreme poverty and dependence, in short, from civil 
and political slavery. Let us see delineated befofe us, the 
true map of man — let us hear the dignity of hi9 nature, and 
the noble rank he holds among the works of God ! that con- 
senting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offen- 
sive in the sight of God, as it is derogatory from our own 
honour, or interest, or happiness ; and that God Almighty has 
promulgated from heaven, liberty, peace, and good will to 

'< Let the bar proclaim the laws, the rights, the generous 
plan of power delivered down from remote antiquity ; inform 
the world of the mighty struggles and numberless sacrifices 
made by our ancestors in the defence of freedom. Let it be 


known tbftt British liberties are not the grants of princes or 
parliaments, but original rights, conditions of original con 
tncts, coequal with prerogatire, and eoeral with gorem- 
ment That many of our rights are inherent and essential, 
agreed on as maxims and established as preliminaries even 
before a pariiament existed. Let them search for the foun- 
dation of British laws and goremment in the frame of human 
nature, in the constitution of the intellectual and moral world. 
There let us see that truth, liberty, justice, and benevolence, 
•re its ererlasting basis ; and if these could be remoTcd, the 
superstructure is overthrown of course. 

''Let the colleges join their harmony in the same delight- 
fol concert Let every declamation turn upon the beauty of 
liberty and virtue, and the deformity, turpitude, and malignity 
«f slavery and vice. Let the public disputations become re- 
searches into the grounds, nature, and ends of government, 
and the means of preserving the good and demolishing the 
evil. Let the dialogues and all the exercises become the in- 
struments of impressing on the^pnder mind, and of spreading 
and distributing far and wide the ideas of right, and the sen- 
sations of freedom." 

In 1766, Mr. Adams removed his residence to Boston, still 
continuing his attendance on the neighbouring circuits, and 
not unfrequently called to remote parts of the province. 

In 1770 occurred, as has already been noticed, the '' Boston 
massacre," Mr. Adams was solicited by the British officers 
and soldiers to undertake their defence, on the indictment 
found against them, for their share in that tragical scene. 
This was a severe test of his professional firmness. He watf 
well aware of the popular indignation against these priso* 
ners, and he was at that time a representative of Boston in 
the general court, an office which depended entirely upon 
popular favour. But he knew that it was due to his profes- 
■ion, and to himself, to undertake their defence, and to hazard 
the consequences. ** The trial was well managed. The cap- 
lion was severed in his trial from the soldiers, who were tried 
Srst, and their defence rested in part upon the orders, real or 
•opposed, given by the officer to his men to fire. This was 


.m a good tneaaoro soeceMfuL On the trial of Cftpt PreitoAy 
»o •ucli order to fire could be proved. The result wiwi» as it 
.ihottM have b6en» an acquittal. It was a glorioua thing that 
the counsel and jur}r bad nerve sufficient to breast the tcmrmit 
roi public feeling. It showed Britain that she had not a mere 
mob to deal with, but resolute and determined men» who could 
restrain themselves. Suck men are dangerous to arhitr^ainf 

The event proved, that as he judged weU for his own re- 
putation, so he Judged well for the interest and permanoit 
fame of his country. The same year he was elected one of 
the representatives in the general assembly, an honour to 
which the people would not have called him, had he lost their 
oonfidence and affection. 

In the year 1773, and 1774, he was chosen a counsellor bf 
the members of the general court ; but was r^^cted by G>o- 
vernor Hutchinson, in the foimer of these years, and by Go- 
vernor Gage, in the latter. 

In this latter year, he was.appointed a member of the con- 
tinental congress, from Massachusetts. " This ^pointment 
was made at Salem, where the general court had been con- 
vened by Governor Gage, in the last hour of the existence of 
a house of representatives, under the provincial charter 
While engaged in this important business, the governor 
having been informed of .what was passing, sent his secretary 
with a message, dissolving the general court The seeretai^ 
finding the door locked, directed the messenger to go in, aul 
inform the speaker that the secretary was at the door, withja 
message from the governor. The messenger returned, and 
informed the se<»>etary that the orders of the house were, that 
(he doors should be kept fast; whereupon the secretasy 
soon after read a proclamatioii, dissolving the .general couic^ 
upon the stairs. Thus terminated, forever, .the .actual ^xen- 
else of the political power of England. in. pr over Ma^an 

On the meeting of congress in Philadelp^a, 1774, Afp:* 
Adams appeared and took his seat. To talents of the highest 
order, and the most commanding eloquence, he added up 

lionest devotion to the cause of faU coontrft and a fiimneas 
of character, for which he was distinguished through lilfri 
Prior to that period he had, upon all occasions, stood forth 
openly in defence of the rights of his country, and in opposi- 
tion to the injustice and encroachments of Great Britain* He 
boldly opposed them by his advice, his actions, and his ekn* 
quence ; and, with other worthies, succeeded in spreading 
among the people a proper alarm for their liberties. Mr. 
Adams was placed upon the first and most important com* 
mittees. During the first year, addresses were prepared to 
the king, to the people of England, of Ireland, Canada, and 
Jamaica. The name of Mr. Adams is found upon almost all 
those important committees. His firmness and eloquence in 
debate, soon gave him a standing among the highest in that 
august body. 

The proceedings of this congress hare already passed in 
review. Among the members, a variety of opinions seem to 
have prevailed, as to the probable issue of the contest, tn 
which the country was engaged. On diis siAject, Mr. 
Adams, a few years before his death, expressed himself, in 
a letter to a fnend, as follows : ** When congress had finished 
their business* as they thought, in the autumn of 1774, 1 had 
with Mr. Henry, before we took leave of each other, some 
^miliar conversation, in which I expressed a'fuU conviction 
that our resolves, declaration of rights, enumeration of 
Wrongs, petitions, remonstrances, and addresses, associa- 
tions, and non-importation agreements, however they might 
bo viewed in America, and however necessary to cement the 
union of the colonies, would be but waste water in England. 
Mr. Henry said, they might make some impression among 
the people of England, but agreed with me, that they would 
be totally lost upon the government I had but just received 
a short and hasty letter, written to me by Major Jose^ 
Hawley, of Northampton, containing a few broken hints, as 
he called them, of what he thought was proper to be done, 
uid concluding with these words, ^ after all, we mnat figfU** 
This letter I read to Mr. Henry, who listened with great at- 
trition, and as soon as I had pronounced the words, * after 


an, we must fi^bt,* h« raised hii head, and, wlA an energy 
and Tehemence that I can never forget, broke out with, * 1 
am of that man's mind/ I put the letter into his hand, and 
when he had read it he retamed it to me, with an equally 
solemn asseveration, that he agreed entirely in opinion with 
the writer. 

** The other delegates from Yirginia returned to their state 
in full confidence that all our gnernnces would be redressed* 
The last words that Mr. Richard Henry Lee said to me, when 
we parted, were, * we shall infallibly carry all our points. 
You will be completely relieved ; all the offensive acts wffl 
he repealed ; the army and fleet will be recalled, and Britain 
will give up her foolish project.' 

^* Washington only was in doubt. He never spoke in pub- 
lic. In private, he joined with those who advocated a no»- 
ezportation, as well as a non-importation agreement With 
both, he thought we should prevail; without either, h^ 
thought It doubtful. Henry was clear in one opinion, 
Richard Henry Lee in an opposite opinion, and Washington 
doubted between the two." 

On the 15th day of June, the continental congress appointed 
General Washington commander in chief of the American 
armies. To Mr. Adams is ascribed the hbnour of having 
suggested and advocated the choice of this illustrious man. 
When first suggested by Mr. Adams, to a few of his confi^ 
dential friends in Congress, the proposition was received 
with a marked disapprobation. Washington, at this time, 
was almost a stranger to them ; and, besides, to elevate a 
man who had never held a higher military rank than that of 
colonel, over officers of the highest grade in the militia, and 
those, too, already in the field, appeared not only irregular, 
bhit likely to produce much dissatisfaction among them, and 
the people at large. To Mr. Adams, however, die greatest 
advantage appeared likely to result from the ehoiee of Wash- 
ington, whose character and peculiar fitness for the station lie 
well understood. Samuel Adams, his distinguished colleague, 
coincided with him in these views, and through their instru- 
mentality this felicitous choice was effected. When a 

joiity in congress had been necuredy Mr. Adams introduced 
the subject of appointing a commander in chief of the an^iest 
and haring sketched the qualifications which should be found 
in the man to be elevated to so responsible a station, he eon* 
eluded by nominating George Washington, of Virginia, to the 

To Washington, himpelf^ nothing could have been more nn« 
expected. Until that moment he was ignorant of the intended 
nomination. The proposal was seconded hy Samuel Adams* 
and the following day it received the unanimous approbation 
of congress. 

When Mr. Adams was first made a member of the conti- 
nental congress, it was hinted that he, at that time^ inclined to 
a separation of the colonies from England, and the establish- 
ment of an independent government. On his way to Phila- 
delphia, he was warned, by several advisers, not to introduce 
a subject of so delicate a character, until the afiairs of the 
country should wear a dijSerent aspect. Whether Mr* 
Adams needed this admonition or not, will not, in this place, 
be determined. But in 1776, the afiairs of the colonies, it 
could no longer be questioned, demanded at least the candid 
discussion of the subject , On the 6th of May, of that year, 
Mr. Adams ofiered, in committee of the whole, a resolution 
that the colonies should form governments independent of 
the crown. On the 10th of May, this resolution was adopted, 
in the following shape : ** That it be recommended to all the 
colonies, which had not already established governments 
suited to the exigencies of their case, to adopt such govern- 
ments as would, in the opinion of the representatives of the 
people, best conduce to the happiness and safety bf their con- 
stituents in particular, and Americans in general.'* 

**This significant vote was soon followed by the direct 
proposition, which Richard Henry Lee had the honour to 
submit to congress, by resolution, on the 7th day of June. 
The published journal does not expressly state it, but there is 
no doubt that this resolution was in the same words, when 
originally submitted by Mr. Lee, as when finally passed. 
Having been discussed on Saturday the 8th, and Monday th« 



iOth of June, this.rMolution was^ on tlie last mentioned day» 
postponed for furthei* consideration to the first day of July » 
and at the same time it was Toted, that a committee be appoint^ 
ed to prepare a declaration, to the effect of the resolution* 
This committee was elected by ballot on the following day^ 
and consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin 
Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston." 

It is usual when committees are elected by ballot, that their 
members are arranged in order, according to the number of 
votes which each has received. Mr. Jefferson, therefore, 
probably received the highest, and Mr. Adams the next 
highest number of votes. Tlie difference is said to have 
been but a single vote. 

Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams, standing thus at the head of 
the committee, were requested by the other members, to act 
as a sub-committee to prepare the draft ; and Mr. Jefierson 
drew up the paper. The original draft, as brought by hint 
from his study, and submitted to the other members of the 
committee, with interlineations in the hand writings of Dr. 
Franklin, and others in that of Mr. Adams, was in Mr. Jeffer- 
son's possession at the time of his death. The merit of this 
paper is Mr. Jefferson's. Some changes were made in it, on 
the suggestion of other members of the Committee, and others 
by Congress, while it was under discussion. But none of 
them altered the tone, the frame, the arrangement, or the ge- 
neral character of the instrument. As a composition, the 
declaration is Mr. Jefferson's. It is the production of his 
mind, and the high honour of it belongs to him clearly and 

*^ While Mr. Jefferson was the author of the declaration 
itself, Mr. Adams was its great supporter on the floor of Con- 
gress^ This was the unequivocal testimony of Mr. Jefferson* 
* John Adams,' said he, on one occasion, *was our Colossus 
on the floor ; not graceful, not elegant, not always fluent in 
his public addresses, he yet came out with a power, both of 
thought and of expression, that moved us from our seats f* 
and at another time, he said, ' John Adams was the pillar of 
its support on the floor of Congress ; its ablest advocate and 

defender against the multifrrious assaiiUsi which were made* 
against it'" 

On the second day of Juljr, the resolution of independence 
was adopted, and on the fourth, the deckration itself was 
unanimously agreed to. Language can scarcely describe the 
transport of Mr* Adams at this time. He has best described 
them himself, in a letter written the day following, to his wife. 
*' Yesterday," says he, " the greatest question was decided 
that was ever debated in America; and greater, perhaps, 
never was or will be decided among men. A resolution was 
passed, without one dissenting colony, * That these United 
States are, and of right ought to be, free and independent 
states.' The aay is passed. The 4th of July, 1776, will be a 
memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to 
believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the 
great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated bm 
the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty 
God. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shows, games* 
sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end 
of the continent to the other, from this time forward, forever. 
You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. 
I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that It 
will cost to maintain this declaration, and support and defend 
these states ; yet through all the gloom, I can see the rays of 
light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than 
all the means ; and that posterity will triumph, although you 
and I may rue, which I hope we shall not" 

About the time of the declaration of independence, occurred 
the disastrous battle of Flatbu^ on Long Island. The 
victory thus gained by the British, was considered by Lord 
Howe as a favourable moment for proposing to congrass an 
accommodation ; and for this purpose, he requested an inter^ 
view with some of the members. In the deliberations of con* 
gress, Mr. Adams opposed this propofMil, on the ground that 
no accommodation could thus be effected. 

A committee, however, was appointed to wait on Lord* 
Howe, consisting of himself^ Dr. Franklin, and Mr. Rutledge* 
On being apprised of their intended interview, Lord Howa 


sent one of his principal officers as a hostage, but the com- 
missioners taking him with them, fearlessly repaired jto the 
British camp* On their arrival, they were conducted through 
an army of twenty thousand men, drawn up for the purpose 
of show) and impression. But the display was lost on the 
commissioners, who studiously avoided all signs of wonder or 
anxiety. As had been predicted by Mr. Adams, the interview 
terminated without any beneficial result On being introdu^ 
ced, Lord Howe informed them that he could not treat with 
diem as a committee of congress, but only as private gentle- 
men of influence in the colonies; to which Mr. Adams repli- 
ed, *' You may view me in any light you please, sir, except 
that of a British subject.*' 

During the remainder of the year 1776, and all 1777, Mr. 
Adams was deeply engaged in the affairs of congress. He 
served as a member of ninety different committees, and was 
diairman of twenty-five committees. From his mulMbrm 
imd severe labours he was relieved in December of the laUer 
year, by the appointment of commissioner to France, in the 
place of Silas Deane. 

In February, 1778, he embarked for that country on board 
of the frigate Boston. On his arrival in France, he found that 
Dr. Franklin, and Arthur Lee, who had been appointed com- 
missioners the preceding year, and were then in France, had 
already^.concluded a treaty with the French government. 
Little business, therefore, of a public nature was left him to 
do. In the summer of 1779, he returned to America. 

About the time of his arrival, the people of Massachusetts 
were adopting measures for calling a convention to form a 
new state constitution. Of this convention he was elected a 
member, and was also a member of the committee appointed 
by the convention to report a plan for their consideration. A 
plan which he drew up was accepted, and was made the baai» 
of the constitution of that state. 

In the August following, in consequence of an informid 
suggestion from the court of St James, he received the ap- 
pointment of minister plenipotentiary for negotiating a treaty 
of peace, and a treaty of commerce, with Great Britain. A 

; JOHN ADAMS. 103 

salary of twenty-fire hundred pounds sterling was voted him. 
In the month of October, he embarked on board the French 
ship La Sensible, and after a tedious voyage was landed at 
Ferrol, in Spain, whence he proceeded to Paris, where he 
arrived in the month of February. He there communicated 
with Dr. Franklin, who was at that time envoy of the United 
States at the court of France, and with the Count de Yer- 
gennes, the French prime minister. But the British govern- 
ment, it was found, were not disposed to peace, and the day 
seemed far distant when any negotiation could be opened 
with a hope of success. Mr. Adams, however, was so use- 
ful in various ways, that towards the close of the year, con- 
gress honoured him by a vote of thanks, " for his industrious 
att^stion to the interest and honour of these United States 

In June, 1780, congress being informed that Mr. Laurens, 
who had been appointed to negotiate a loan in Holland for 
the United States, had been taken prisoner by the English, 
forwarded a commission to Mr. Adams to proceed to Hol- 
land, for the above purpose. To this, soon after, was added 
the new appointment of commissioner to conclude a treaty 
of amity and commerce with the States General of HoUand; 
and, at the same time, authority was given him to pledge 
the faith of the United States to the '' armed neutrality^' 
proposed by the Russian government 

Mr. Adams repaired with promptitude to Holland, and 
engaged with great zeal in the business of. his commission. 
From this station he was suddenly summoned by the Count 
de Vergennes, to consult, at Paris, with regard to a project 
for a general peace, suggested by the courts of Vienna and 
St Petersburgh. 

This was one of the most anxious periods in the eventful 
Kfe of Mr. Adams. France was, indeed, ready to fulfil her 
ftiaranty of independence to the United States ; but it was 
the politic aim of the Count de Vergennes, to secure impor- 
tttit advantages; for his own country, in the settlement of 
American difficulties. Hence, no efibrt was spared to make 
Mr. Adamsy in this important matter, the subordinate agent 


of the French cabinet He, on the other hand, regarded 
solely the interests of the United States, and the instructions 
of congress ; and his obstinate independence, unshaken by 
the alternate threats and blandishments of the court of Ver- 
sailles, occasioned an effort by the Count de Yergennes to 
obtain, dirough the French minister in Philadelphia, such a 
modification of the instructions to Mr. Adams, as should 
subject him to the direction of the French cabinet 

The effect of this artful and strenuous measure was, a de-^ 
termination on the part of congress, that Mr. Adams should 
hold the most confidential intercourse with the French minis* 
ters ; and should '^ undertake nothing in the negotiation of 
a peace, or truce, without their knowledge and concurrenee/' 

Under these humiliating restrictions, the independent and 
decisive spirit of Mr. Adams was severely tried. The impe-. 
rial mediators proposed an armistice, but without wny with- 
drawal of troops from America. Mr. Adams firmly opposed 
this litipulation ; and the negotiation proceeded no farther at 
tiiat time. 

It was, obviously, the policy of the French minister, not 
to facilitate the peace between Great Britain and the United 
States, without previously securing to France a large share in 
the fisheries ; and at the same time so establishing the wes- 
tern boundary, as to sacrifice the interests of the United 
States to those of Spain. 

Finding all attempts at negotiation unavailing, Mr. Adams 
returned to Holland. 

Meantime,' the apprehensions of congress being much 
excited by the insinuations of the French minister in Phila- 
delphia, they added to the commission for forming a treaty 
witili Great Britain, Dr. Franklin, then plenipotentiary at 
Paris ; Mr. Jay, the minister at Madrid ; Mr. Henry LaUrens, 
who had recently been appointed special minister to France ; 
and Mr. JejSerson. The whole were instructed to gorem 
themselves by the advice and opinion of the ministers of the 
king of France. This unaccountable and dishonourable 
concession, in effect, made the Count de Yergennes minister 
plenipotentiary for the United States. 

But the indefatigable exertions of Mr. Adams in Holland, 
had a most important bearing upon the proposed negotiations. 
By a laborious and striking exhibition of the situation and 
resources of the United States, he succeeded in so far in« 
flnencing public opinion, as to obtain a loan of eight millionij 
of guilders, on reasonable terms. This loan, effected in the 
autumn of 1782, was soon followed by a treaty of amity and 
commerce with Holland, recognizing the United States as 
independent and sovereign states. 

The disposition towards peace, on the part of the English 
ministry, was wonderfully quickened by the favourable ne^ 
gotiation of this loan. During Lord Shelbume's administra- 
tion, the independence of the states was unconditionally ae^ 
knowledged, and the first effectual steps were taken to put 
an end to the war. 

During the negotiations that followed, the disposition of 
France again evinced itself, to cut off the United States from 
a share of the fisheries, and to transfer a portion of the 
American territory to Spain. The American commissioners, 
therefore, were not a little embarrassed by their instructions 
from congress, to govern themselves by the opinion and 
advice of the French minister. But, as Mr. Adams had, on a 
former occasion,^ found it necessary to depart from instruc- 
tions of a similar import ; the other commissioners now 
joined with him, in the determination to secure the beet 
interests of their country, regardless of the interference of 
the French minister, and of the inconsiderate restrictions im- 
posed on them by congress. 

Accordingly, provisional articles were signed by them, on 
the 30th of November, 1783 ; and this measure was follow- 
ed by an advantageous definitive treaty in September, 1783. 

Mr. Adams spent a part of the year 1784 in Holland, bttt 
returned eventually to Paris, on being placed at the head of 
a commission, with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jefferson as coad- 
jutors, to negotiate several commercial treaties with di^reat 
foreign nations. 

Near the commencement of the year 1786, congress re- 
solved to send a miipLister plenipotentiary to represent th« 


Uaitod States at die court of St James. To this respomdUe 
station, rendered peculiarly delicate by the fact that the 
United States had so ^recently and reluctantly been acknow- 
ledged as an independent nation, Mr. Adams was appointed* 
It was doubtful in what manner and with what spirit an 
American minister would be received by the British govern- 
ment On leaving America, Mr. Jay, the then secretary of 
state, among other instructions, used the following language 
** The manner of your reception at that court, and its temper, 
views, and dispositions respecting American objects, are mat- 
tars concerning which particular information might be no 
less useAil than interesting. Your letters will, I am persuaded, 
remove all suspense on those points." 

In accordance with this direction, Mr. Adams subsequently 
forwarded to Mr. Jay the following interesting account of his 
presentation to the king. 

** During my interview with the marquis of Carmarthen, 
be told me it was customary for every foreign minister, at 
his first presentation to the king, to make his majesty some 
compliments conformable to the spirit of his credentials ; and 
when Sir Clement Cottrel Dormer, the master of ceremonies, 
came to inform me that he should accompany me to the secre- 
tary of s^te, and to court, he said, that every foreign minister 
whom he had attended to the queen, had always made an 
harangue to her majesty, and he understood, though he had not 
been present, that they always harangued the king. On Tues- 
day evening, the Baron de Lynden (Dutch ambassador) called 
upon me, and said he came from the Baron de Nolkin, (Swedish 
envoy,) and had been conversing upon the singular situation 
I was in, and they agreed in opinion that it was indispensable 
that I should make a speech, and that it should be as com- 
plimentary as possible. All this was parallel to the advice 
lately given by the Count de Yergennes to Mr. Jefferson. So 
that finding it was a custom established at both these great 
courts, that this court and the foreign ministers expected it, 
I thought I could not avoid it, although my first thought and 
iatclination had been to deliver my credentials silently and 
tatire. At one, on Wednesday the first of June, the master 


^ eeremoniea ealled at my house^ attd went with me to die 
•eeretary of stale's office, in Cleyeknd Row, where the mai- 
qiiis of Garmarthcjn received me, and introduced me to Mr* 
Praasier, hii^ under secretary, who had been, as his lordship 
said, uninterruptedly in that office through all the changes in 
administration for thhrty years, having first been appointed 
by the earl of Holderness. After a short conversation upon 
the subject of importing my effects from Holland and France, 
free of duty, which Mr. Frazier himself introduced, Lcurd 
Carmarthen invited me to go with him in his coach to court 
When we arrived in the antichamber, the ceil^e-b<]euf of 
8t James's, the master of the ceremonies met me, and at- 
tended me, while the secretary of state went to take the 
commands of the king. While I stood in this place, where 
it seems all ministers stand on such occasions, always at- 
tended by the master of ceremonies, the room very full of 
eonrtiers, as well as the next room, which is the king's bed 
diamber, you may well suppose, that I was the focus of all 

*' I was relieved, however, from the embarrassment of it by 
the Swedish and Dutch ministers, who came to me and enter- 
tained me in a very agreeable conversation during the whole 
time. Some other gentlemen whom I had seen before came 
to make their compliments too, until the marquis of Carmar- 
Aen returned, and desired me to go with him to his majesty : 
I went with his lordship through the levee room into the 
king's closet; the door was shut, and I was left with his 
majesty and the secretary of state alone. I made the three 
reverences, one at the door, another about half way, and the 
third before the presence, according to the usage established 
nt this and all the northern courts of Europe, and then ad- 
dressed myself to his majesty in the following words: 

** ' Sir, the United States have appointed me their minister 
plenipotentiary to your majesty, and have directed me to de- 
liver to your majesty this letter, which contains the evidence 
<>nt It is in obedience to their express commands, that I have 
Ae honour to assure your majesty of their unanimous disposi- 
tion and desire to cultivate the most friendly and libend k^ 


tercourse between your maje9t3r'B subjects and their dtuens* 
and of their best wishes for your majesty's health and faappi- 
ness, and for that of your royal family, 

** The appointment of a minister from the United States 
to your majesty's court, will form an epoch in the history of 
England and America, I think myself mbre fortunate than all 
my fellow citizens, in having the distinguished honour to be 
the first to stand in your majesty's royal presence in a diplo- 
matic character ; and I shall esteem myself the happiest of 
men, if I can be instrumental in recommending my country 
more and more to your majesty's royal benevolence, and of 
restoring an entire esteem, confidence, and affection, or in 
better words, *the old good nature, and the old good humour/ 
between people who, though separated by an ocean, and un- 
der different governments, have the same language, a similar 
religion, and kindi;ed blood. I beg your majesty's permission 
to add, that although I have sometimes before been entrusted 
by my country, it was never, in my whole life, in a manner so 
agreeable to myself.' 

'* The king listened to every word I said, with dignity, it 
is true, but with an apparent emotion. Whether it was the 
nature of the interview, or whether it was my visible agita- 
tion, for I felt more than I did or could express, that touched 
him, I cannot say, but he was much affected, and answered me 
with more tremor thati I had spoken with, and said : 

'* * Sir, the circumstances of this audience are so extraor* 
dinary, the language you have now held is so extremely pro-* 
per, and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted 
to the occasion, that I must say, that I not only receive irith 
pleasure the assurances of the friendly disposition of the peo- 
ple of the United States, but that I am very glad th^ choice 
has fallen upon you to be their minister. I wish you, sir, to 
believe, and that it may be understood in America, that I 
have done nothing in the late contest but what I thought my- 
self indispensably bound to do, by the duty which I owed to 
my people. I will be very frank with you. I was the last 
to conform to the separation ; but the separation having been 
made, and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I 

my now, thai I would be the first to meet the firiendship of 
the United States, as an independent power. The moment 
I see sneh sentiments and language as yours prevail, and a 
dupositioB to give this eonatry the preference, that moment 
I shall say, let the circumstances of language, religion, and 
blood, have their natural and full effect.' 

*^ I dare not say that these were the king's precise words* 
and it is eren possible that I may have, in some particulart 
mistaken his meaning ; for although his pronunciation is as 
distinct as I ever heard, he hesitated sometimes between his 
periods, and between the members of the same period. He 
was, indeed, much affected, and I was not less so ; and, there*- 
lore, I cannot be certain that I was so attentive, heard so 
clearly, and understood so perfectly, as to be confident of all 
bis words or sense ; this I do say, that the foregoing is hU 
majesty's meaning, as I then understood it, and his own 
words, as nearly as I can recollect" 

The year following, 1788, Mr. Adams requested permis- 
sion to resign his office, which, being granted, after an ab* 
aence of between eight and nine years, he returned to his 
native country. The new government was, at that time, about 
going into operation. In the autumn of .1788, he was elected 
vice president of the United States, a situation which he filled, 
with reputation for eight years. 

On the retirement of General Washington from the presi- 
dency, in 1796, Mr. Adams was a candidate for that elevated 
station. At this time, two parties had been formed in the. 
United States. At the head of one stood Mr. Hamilton and 
Mr. Adams, and at the head of the other stood Mr. Jefferson. 
After a close contest between these two parties, Mr. Adams 
was elected president, having received seventy-one of the 
electoral votes, and Mr* Jefferson sixty-eight. In March, 
1797, these gentlemen entered upon their respective offices 
of president and vice president of the United States. 

Of the administration of Mr. Adams we shall not, in this 
place, give a detailed account Many circumstances con» 
spired to render it unpopular. An unhappy dispute with 
France had arisen a little p^eviowty to his inauguration. In 



the management of tliis dispste, whidi had referenee to ag* 
gressiona by France upon Ameriean rights and commerce^ 
the popularity of Mr. Adams was in no small degree affected, 
although the measures which he recommended for upholding 
the national character, were more moderate than congress, 
and a respectable portion of the people, thought the exigen- 
cies of the case required* Other circumstances, ako, con- 
spired to diminish his popularity. Restraints were imposed 
upon the press, and authority vested in the president to or* 
der aliens to depart out of the United States, when he should 
judge the peace and safety of the country required. To these 
measures, acts were added for raising a standing army, and 
imposing a direct tax and internal duties. These, and other 
causes, combined to weaken the strength of the party to 
whom he owed his elevation, and to prevent his re-election. 
He was succeeded by Mr. Jefferson, in 1801. 

On retiring from the presidency he removed to his former 
residence at Quincy, where, in quiet, he spent the remainder 
of his days. In 1820, he voted as elector of president and 
vice president ; and, in the same year, at the advanced age 
of 85, he was a member of the convention of Massachusetts, 
assembled to revise the constitution of that commonwealth. 

Mr. Adams retaii|ed the faculties of his mind, in remarka- 
ble perfection, to the end of his long life. His unabated love 
of reading and contemplation, added to an interesting circle 
of friendship and affection, were sources . of felicity in de 
dining years, which seldom fall to the lot of any one. 


*^ But," to use the language of a distinguished eulogist,* 
^ he had otlier enjo3rments. He saw around him that pros- 
perity and general happiness, which had been thf object of 
his public cares and labours. No man ever beheld more 
clearly, and for a longer time, the great and beneficial effects 
of the services rendered by himself to his country. That 
liberty, which he so early defended, that independence, of 
which he was so able an advocate and supporter, he saw, we 
trusti firmly and securely established. The population of 

• Wsbstar, 

JOHK A9Alkn. Ill 

ihe country thickened around him fasteri and extended wider, 
than his own sanguine predictions had anticipated ; and the 
wealth, respectability, and power of the nation, sprang up to 
% magnitude, which it is quite impossible he could ha^e ex^ 
pected to witness, in his day. He liv^ed, also, to behold those 
principles of civil freedom, which had been developed^ es* 
tablished, and practically applied in America, attract atten- 
tion, command respect, and awaken imitation, in other re- 
gions of the globe ; and well might, and well did he ex- 
claim, ' Where will the consequences of the American revo- 
lution end !* 

'* If any thing yet remains to fill this cup of happinei^, let 
it be added, that he lived to see a great and inteUigent people 
bestow the highest honour in their gift, where he had be- 
stowed his own kindest parental affections, and lodged hift 
fondest hopes* 

*^ At length the day approached when this eminent patriot 
was to be summoned to another world ; and, as if to render 
that day forever memorable in the annals of American histo- 
ry, it was the day on which the illustrious Jefferson was 
himself, also, to terminate his distinguished earthly career. 
That day was the fiftieth anniversary of the declaration of 
independence. , ^ 

'* Until within a few days previous, Mr. Adams had ex- 
hibited no indications of a rapid decline. The morning of the 
fourth of July, 1826, he was unable to rise from his bed. 
Neither to himself, or his friends, however, was his dissolution 
supposed to be so near. He was asked to suggest a totot, 
appropriate to the celebration of the day. . His mind seemed 
to glaqee back to the hour in which, fifty years before, he had 
Toted' for the deelaration of independence, and .with the 
spirit with which he then raised his hand, he now exclaimed, 
* Independence forever.' At four o'clock in the afternoon 
he expired. Mr. JeiSerson had departed a few hours before 

Weelose this imperfect sketch of the life of this distinguished 
man in the language of one* who, from the relation in which 

* Prendent Adftms'g Message. 


be stood to the sBbjeet of thiB memoir, must hare felt, more 
than any other individual, the impreBsivenesB of the event 
** They, (Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson,) departed cheered 
by the benediction of their country, to whom they left the 
Idieritance of their fame, and the memory of their bright 
example. If we turn our thoughts to the condition of their 
country, in the contrast of the first and last day of that half 
century, how resplendent and sublime is the transition from 
gloom to glory ! Then, glancing through the same lapse of 
lime, in the condition of the individuals, we see the first day 
marked with the fulness and vigour of youth, in the pledge 
of dieir lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour, to the 
cause of freedom and of mankind. And on the last, extended 
on the bed of death, with but sense and sensibility left to 
breathe a last aspiration to heaven of blessing upon their 
country ; may we not humbly hope, that to them, too, it was 
ft pledge of transition from gloom to glory ; and that while 
their mortal vestments were sinking into the clod of the val- 
ley, their emancipated spirits were ascending to the bosom of 
flieir God P* 


Robert Trbat Paine was a native of Boston, where he 
was born, in the year 1731. His parents were piou^ and 
respectable. His father was for some years the settled pas- 
tor of a church in Weymouth, in the vicinity of Boston. His 
health failing him, however, he removed with his family to 
the latter place ; where he entered into mercantile pursuits. 
His mother was the grand-daughter of Governor Treat of 

At the early age of fourteen, he became a member of Har- 
Tard College ; but of his collegiate course, little has been re« 
corded. On leaving the university, he was engaged for some 


time in a public school. As the fortune of his father had, 
from various circumstances, become much reduced, the sup* 
port of his parents, with some other relations, seemed to de- 
volve upon himself. In the acquisition of more ample means 
for their maintenance, he made a voyage to Europe. It 
was an honourable trait in his character, thus in the morn- 
ing of life to exhibit such filial affection ; a kindness of 
disposition, which he continued to manifest during his father^ 

Previously to his commencing the study of law, he devoted 
some time to the subject of theology, which tended to en- 
large his views of Christianity, and to confirm his belief of its 
truth. In 1755, he served as chaplain to the troops of the 
province at the northward, and afterwards preached a few 
times in other places. 

At length he directed his attention to the study of law, du- 
ring which period, having no pecuniary assistance, he was 
obliged to resort again to the keeping of a school for his sup- 
port. By most persons such a course would be deemed a 
serious evil ; but experience has shown, that those who are 
obliged to depend upon their own energies for the means ot 
education, generally enter upon their profession, if not with 
higher attainments, with more courage to encounter the diffi- 
culties with which almost every one meets, and they are 
more likely to attain to a high elevation, than those whose re- 
sources are abundant. 

On being qualified for the practice of law, Mr. Paine esta- 
blished himself at Taunton, in the county of Bristol, where 
he resided for many years. We necessarily pass over seve- 
ral years of his life, during which we meet no occurrences ot 
sufiicient importance to merit a notice in these pages. It may 
be remarked, however, *that at an early period, he took a 
deep interest in the various disputes which arose between the 
colonies and the British government. He was a delegate from 
Taunton, to a convention called by leading men of Boston, 
in 1768, in consequence of the abrupt dissolution of the gene- 
ral court by Governor Bernard. This convention the go- 
remor attempted to break up, but it continued in session several 
P W 


days, and adopted many spirited resolutions, design «r to 
awaken in the people a greater attention to their rights, and 
to show to the ministry of England, that if those rights were 
violated, the provincial assembly would act independently of 
the governor. t 

Mr. Paine was engaged in the celebrated trial of Captain 
Preston, and his men, for the part they acted in the well 
known ** Boston massacre" of 1770. On this occasion, in the 
absence of the attorney general, he conducted the prosecution 
on the part of the crown. Although only a fragment of his 
address to the jury, at this time, has been preserved, it ap-> 
pears that he managed the cause with the highest reputation 
to himself, both in regard to his honour as a faithful advo* 
eate, and at the same time as a friend to the just rights ol 
those against whom he acted as council. 

From this time, Mr. Paine appeared still more conspicuous- 
ly as the friend of liberty, in opposition to the tyrannical and 
oppressive measures of the British administration. In 1773, 
he was elected a representative to the general assembly, from 
the town of Taunton. It was now becoming a |>eriod of 
great alarm in the colonies. Men of principle and talent 
were selected to guard the ancient rights of the colonies, and 
to point to those measures which, in the approaching crisis, 
it was proper to pursue. It was a high honour, therefore, for 
any one to be elected a representative of the people. The 
rights, the liberties, znd even the lives of their constitu- 
ents were placed in their hands ; it was of the utmost im- 
portance that they should be men of sagacity, patriotism, and 
principle. Such, fortunately for the colonies, were the men 
who represented them in their provincial assemblies, and in 
the continental congress. 

Of this latter body, Mr. Paine was elected a member in 
1774. A general account of the proceedings of this as- 
sembly has already been given. At that time a separation 
from the parent country was not generally contemplated^ 
although to more discerning minds, such an event appear- 
ed not improbable, and that at no distant day. The con 
gress of 1774st were appointed mainly to deliberate and de- 


iermiiie upon the measures proper to be pursued, to seeore 
the enjo3anent and exercise of rights guaranteed to the colo-* 
nies by their charters, and for the restitution of union and 
harmony between the two countries, which was still desired 
by all. Accordingly they proceeded no farther at that time, 
than to address the people of America, petition the king, 
state their grievances, assert their rights, and recommend the 
suspension of importations from Great Britain into the co- 

The assembling of such a body, and for objects of so ques* 
tionable a character, was a bold step ; and bold must hare 
been the men, who could thus openly appear on the side of the 
colonies, in opposition to the Britbh ministry, and the royal 
power. In concluding their session, in October of the same 
year, they presented a solemn appeal to the world, stating 
that innovation was not their object, but only the preserva- 
tion and maintenance of the rights which, as subjects of Great ^ 
Britain, had been granted to them by their ancient charters* 
"Had we been permitted," say they, " to enjoy in quiet the 
inheritance left us by our fathers, we should, at this time, have 
been peaceably, cheerfully, and usefully employed in recom- 
mending ourselves, by every testimony of devotion to his 
majesty, and of veneration to the state from which we derive 
our origin. Though now exposed to unexpected and unna* 
tural scenes of distress, by a contention with that nation, in 
whose general guidance, on all important occasions, we have 
hitherto with filial reverence constantly trusted, and there« 
fore can derive no instruction, in our present unhappy and 
perplexing circumstances, from any former experience ; yet 
we dottbt not, the purity of our intentions, and the integrity of 
our conduct, will justify ds at that great tribunal, before which 
all mankind must submit to judgment. We ask but for 
peace, liberty, and safety. We wish not a diminution of the 
royal prerogatives ; nor do we solicit the grant of any new 
right in our favour." 

To the continental congress, which met at Philadelphia 
in May, 1775, Mr. Paine was again a delegate from Massa- 
chusetts. At that time, the colonies were greatly in want of 


gunpowder. The manufacture of salt petre, one of its con* 
stituents, was but imperfectly understood. Congress appoint* 
ed a committee, of which Mr. Paine was chairman, to intro- 
duce the manufacture of it. In this particular, he rendered 
essential service to his country, by making extensive inquiries 
into the subject, and by inducing persons in various parts of 
the provinces to engage in the manufacture of the article. 
The following is among the letters which he wrote on this 
subject, which, while it shows his indefatigable attention to 
the subject, will convey to the present generationiK>me idea 
of the multiform duties of the patriots of the revolution. Mr. 
Paine also rendered himself highly useful, as a member of a 
committee for the encouragement of t^e manufacture of 
cannon, and other implements of war. 

Philadelphia^ June lO^ft, 1775. 
My very dear Sir, 

I cannot express to you the surprise and uneasiness 1 
received on hearing the congress express respecting tlie want 
of gunpowder ; it was always a matter that lay heavy ob 
my mind ; but the observation I made of your attention to it, 
and your alertness and perseverance in everything you under- 
take, and your repeatedly expressing it as your opinion that we 
had probably enough for this summer^s campaign, made me quite 
easy. I rely upon it that measures are taken in your parts of 
the continent to supply this defect. The design of your ex- 
press will be zealously attended to, I think. I have seen one 
of the powder mills here, where they make excellent powder, 
but have worked up all the nitre ; one of our members is 
concerned in a powder mill at New- York, and has a man at 
work making nitre. I have taken pains to inquire into the 
method. Dr. Franklin has seen salt-petre works at Hanover and 
Paris ; and it strikes me to be as unnecessary, after a certain 
time, to send abroad for gunpowder, as for bread ; provided 
people will make use of common understanding and industry ; 
but for the present we must import from abroad. Major 
Foster told me, at Hartford, he suspected he had some land 
that would yield nitre ; pray converse with him about it. Dr 


Franklin** account is much the fame as is mentioned in one 
of the first of the American magazines ; the sweeping of the 
streets, and ruhhish of old buildings, are made into mortar, and 
bnilt into walls, exposed to the air, and once in about two 
months scraped and lixiviated, and evaporated ; when I can 
describe the method more minutely, I will write you ; mean- 
while, give me leave to condole with you the loss of Colonel 
Lee. Pray remember me to Colonel Om'e, and all other our 
worthy friends. Pray take care of your important health, 
that you may be able to stand stiff as a pillar in our new go- 

I must now subscribe, with great respect and affection, 
Your humble servant, 

R. T. Paikx. 


Of the congress of 1776, Mr. Paine was also a member ; 
and to the declaration of independence, which that .body pub- 
lished to the world, he gave his vote, and affixed his name. 
In the December following, the situation of congress became 
justly alarming. The British army n^ere, at this time, ma- 
king rapid advances through New-Jersey, towards Philadel- 
phia. The troops of Washington, amounting to scarcely one 
third of the British force, it was thought would not be able to 
resist their progress, or prevent their taking possession of 
PhiladelpMa. During the alarm excited by an approaching 
foe, congress adjourned to Baltimore. Of the state of con- 
gress, at this time, the following letter of Mr. Paine gives an 
Interesting account. 

<«Our public af&irs have been exceedingly agitated since I 
wrote you last. The loss of fort Washington made way for 
that of fort Lee ; and the dissolution of our army happening 
at the same time, threw us into a most disagreeable situation. 
The interception of an express gave the enemy full assurance 
of what they must have had some knowledge of before, the state 
of our army ; and they took the advantage of it. In two days 
after the possession of fort Lee, on the 20th of November, 
where we lost much baggage, and thechief of our battering can- 
non, they marched to the Hackeilsack, and thence to Newark, 


driying General Washington before them, with his 3000 men ; 

thence to Elizabethtown. General Washington suppoaed^ 
from the best information he could get, that they were 10,000 
strong ; marchiilg with a large body o( horse in front, and a 
Tery large train of artillery. We began to be apprehensive 
they were intended for Philadelphia ; and congress sat all 
Sunday in determining proper measures on the occasion. I 
cannot describe to you the situation of this city. The pros-- 
pect was really alarming. Monday, 9th ; yesterday. General 
Washington crossed the Delaware, and the enemy arrired at 
Trenton on this side, thirty miles from this place ; close 
quarters for Congress I It obliges us to move ; we hare re- 
solved to go to Baltimore." 

For the years 1777 and 177B, Mr. Paine was a member of 
congress, during the intervals of whose sessions, he filled 
several important offices in the state of Massachusetts. In 
1780, he was called to take a part in the deliberations of the 
convention, which met for the purpose of forming a constita- 
tion for the commonwealth. Of the committee which framed 
that excellent instrument, he was a conspicuous member. 
Under the government organized according to this constitu- 
tion, he was appointed attorney general, an office which he 
continued to hold until 1790, when he was transferred to a 
seat on the bench of the supreme judicial court. In this situa- 
tion he remained till the year 1804, at which time he had at- 
tained to the advanced age of 73 years. As a lawyer, Mr. 
Paine ranked high among his professional brethren. His 
legal attainments were extensive. In the discharge of his 
duties as attorney general, he had the reputation of unneces- 
sary severity ; but fidelity in that station generally provokes 
the censure of the lawless and licentious. Towards the aban- 
doned and incorrigible he wds indeed severe, and was willing 
that the law in all its penalties should be visited upon them. 
But where crime was followed by re'pentance, he could be 
moved to tenderness ; and while, in th^' discharge of his offi- 
cial duty, he took care that the law shbidd not fall into dis- 
respect through his inefficiency, he at the same time was ever 


reidy to recommend such as might desenre it to ezecutiire 

The important duties of a judge, he discharged with ho- 
nour and great impartiality for the space of fourteen years. 
During the latter part of this time, he was affected' with a 
deafness, which, in a measure, impaired his usefulness on the 
bench. Few men have rendered more important seryices to 
the literary and religious institutions of a country, than did 
Judge Paine. He gave them all the support and influence 
of his office, by urging upon grand jurors the faithful exe- 
eution of the laws, the support of schools, and the preserva- 
tion of a strict morality. 

The death of Judge Paine occurred on the eleventh of 
May, 1814, having attained to the age of 84 years. Until 
near the close of life, the vigour of his mental faculties con- 
tinued unimpaired. In quickness of apprehension, liveliness 
of inuigination, and general intelligence, he had few supe- 
riors. His memory was of the most retentive character, and 
he was highly distinguished for a sprightly and agreeable 
turn in conversation. A witty severity sometimes excited 
the temporary disquietude of a friend ; but if he was some- 
times inclined to indulge in pleasant raillery, he was willing 
to be the subject of it in his turn. 

As a scholar, be ranked high among literary men, and 
was distinguished for his patronage of all the useful institu- 
tions of the country. He was a founder of the American 
Academy established in Massachusetts in 1780, and active in 
Its service until his death. The honorary degree of doctoi 
of laws was conferred upon him by Harvard University. 

Judge Paine was a firm believer in the divine origin of the 
Cliristian religion. He gave full credence to the scriptures, 
as a revelation from God, designed to instruct mankind in a 
knowledge of their duty, and to guide them in the way to 
etem^ happiness. 



Elbridob Gbrrt was bom at Msrbleheady in the state of 
Massachusetts, on the seventeenth day of July* 1744L Hia &- 
dier was a native of Newton* of respectable parentage and c<mi- 
nexions. He emign^ted to America in 1790, soon after which, 
he established himself as a merchant in Marblehead, where he 
continued to reside until his death, in 1774. He was much 
esteemed and respected, as a man of judgment and discretion* 

Of the early habits or manners of young Elbridge, little 
is known. He became a member of Harvard College be-> 
fore he had completed his fourteenth year ; and of course 
was too young at the university to acquire any decided cha^ 

Mr. Gerry was originally destined to the profession of 
medicine, to which his own inclination strongly attached him. 
But soon after leaving college, he engaged in commercial 
affairs, under the direction of his father, and for some yean 
followed the routine of mercantile business in his native 
town. Great success attended his commercial enterprise; 
and within a few years, he found himself in the enjoyment 
of a competent fortune. 

It is natural to suppose that the superioa education of Mr. 
Gerry, added to the respectable character he sustained, as a 
man of probity and judgment, gave him influence over the 
people among whom he resided. In May, 1772, the people 
of Marblehead manifested their respect and confidence by 
sending him a representative to the general court of the 
province of Massachusetts. In May of the ibllowing year, 
Mr. Crerry was re-elected to the same office. During 
the session of the general court that year, Mr. Samuel 
Adams introduced his celebrated motion for the appointment 
of a standing committee of correspondence and inquiry. 

In accordance with this motion, committees of correspon- 
dence were appointed throughout the province, by means of 
which intelligence was freely circulated abroad, and a spirit 
of patriotism was infused through all parts of the country* 


Thonglt one of the youngeBt members, Mr. Gerry was ap* 
pointed by the house of repre$entatives, a member of this 
committee ; in all the proceedings of which, he took an actire 
mnd prominent part. 

In the month of June, the celebrated letters of Goirenior 
Hutchinson to persons in England, were laid before the 
house by Mr. Adams. The object of these letters, as noticed 
in a preceding page, was to encourage the British adminis- 
tration in maintaining their arbitrary measures. In the de- 
bates which ensued on the disclosure of these letters, Mr« 
Gerry distinguished himself, and was indefatigably engaged 
through the year, in forwarding the resolute measures, which 
combined to overthrow the royal government of the pro* 
vince. He was also particularly itetive in the scenes which 
marked the year 1774. He united in the opposition to the 
importation of tea, and to the Boston po^t bill ; and heartily 
concurred in the establishment of a system of non-intercourae 
with the parent country. 

In the month of August, Governor Gage issued his pre- 
cepts to the several towns, to choose representatives to meet 
at Salem, the first week in October. Before the arrival of 
that day, the governor had countermanded their meeting. 
Notwithstanding this prohibition, delegates assembled at 
Salem on the seventh of October. There having formed 
themselves into a provincial congress, they adjourned to 
Concord, and proceeded to business. Of this congress Mr. 
Gerry was an active and efficient member. 

On the organization of the assembly, a committee was ap- 
pointed to consider the state of the province. Fourteen of 
the most distinguished members of the congress, among 
whom was Mr. Gerry, composed this committee. They pub- 
lished a bold and energetic appeal, which, in the form of an 
address to Governor Gage, was calculated to justify the 
authority they had assumed, to awaken their constituents to a 
sense of the dangers they feared, and the injuries they had 

They next appointed a committee of safety, and adopted 
measures to obtain a supply of arms and ammunition ; of 

a n 

IM llAMA€m»ftTt!S i>KtK6A.TI0lr. 

whieh ike provinee insB lamehtttbly defioitot They te^r- 
ganized the nuMtia, appointed general officers, and took suoBl 
^ther meaanreB aa the approaching criaia seemed to render 

In February, 1776, a new prorindial congress, of which Mr. 
QlBrry was a member, assembled in Cambridge. This con* 
grass, like the former one, pubHi^d an appeal to the people^ 
designed to excite and regnlate that patriotic spirit, which 
the emergency required. A general apprehension prevailed, 
that a pacific terminatiob of the existing troubles was not to 
he expected. They avowed their abhorrence of actual hos* 
tilities, but still maintained their right to arm in defence oJT 
their country^ and to prepare themselves to re^t with the 

In the spring of 1175, the prospect of open wtir eVety day 
increased. * A strong apprehension prevailed{ that an attempt 
would be made by the royal governor to destroy such military 
stores as had been collected, particularly at Concord and 
Worcester. The committee of safety, in their solicitude oo 
this subject, stationed a watch at each of these jdaces, to 
jfive an alarm to the surrounding country should such an at- 
tempt be made. 

A short period only elapsed, before the apprehensions of 
the people proved not to be witihout foundation. The expe* 
dition to Concord, and the bloody scenes which occurred 
both there and at Lexington, ushered in the long expected 
contest. ** Among the objects of this expedition,'* observen 
Mr. Austin, in his life of Mr. Gerry, '< one was to seize the 
persons of some of the influential members of Congress^ 
and to hold them as hostages for the moderiettion of their 
colleagues, or send them to England for trial as traitors, atd 
thus strike dismay and tetror into the minds of their asso* 
ciates and friends. 

" A committee of congress, among whom were Mr. Gretry^ 
Colonel Orne, and Colonel Hancock, had been in session on 
the day preceding the march of the troops, in the village of 
Mienotomy, then part of the township of Cambridge^ on the 
road to Lexington. The latter genlleraaHO, ^er the session 


wan oTer, had gone to Leziiigtoiu lb. Gerry and Mr. Omc 
remain^ at the village* the ether members of the eommitftcte 
had dispersed. 

** Some officers of the royal army ha^ been sent out hi 
advance* who passed through the villages just before dusk* 
m the afternoon of the 18th of April, and although the ap* 
pearance of similar detachments was not uncommon, these 
?o far attracted the attention of Mr. Gerry, that he despatched 
fua eippress to Colonel Hancock, who, with Samuel Adams, 
was at Lexington. The messenger passed the officers, by 
taking a by-path, and delivered his letter. The idea of per- 
sonal danger does not seem to have made any strong impress 
sion on either of these gentlemen. Mr. Hancock's answer 
to Mr. Gerry bears marks of the haste with which it was 
written* while it discovers that habitual politeness on the 
part of the writer, which neither haste or danger could impair. 

Itexington^ Ajpril IStA, 1775. 
Dear Sir, 

I. am much obliged for your notice. It is said the officers 
are gone to Concord, and I will send word thither. I ani 
full with you, that we ought to be serious, and I hope your 
decision will be effectual. I intend doing myself the plea- 
sure of being with you to-morrow. My respects to the 

I am your real friend, 

John Hancock. 

Mr. Gerry and Colonel Ome retired to rest, without ta- 
king the least precaution against personal exposure, and they 
remained quietly in their beds, until the British advance 
were within view of the dwelling house. It was a fine moon- 
light night, and they quietly marked the glittering of its 
beams, on the polished arms of the soldiers, as the troops 
moved with the silence and regularity of accomplished discip- 
line. The front passed on. When the centre were opposite 
to the house, occupied by the committee, an officer and file 
of men were detached by signal, and marched towards it It 


not until this moment they entertained any apprehensibn 
of danger. While the officer was posting his files, the gen- 
tl^nen found means, hy their better knowledge of the premi- 
ses, to escape, half dressed as they were, into an adjoining 
cornfield, where they remained concealed for more than an 
hoar, until the troops were withdrawn. Every apartment of 
the house was searched * for the members of the rebel con* 
gress ;' eiren the beds in which they had lain were examined. 
But their property, and among other things, a valuable watch 
of Mr. Gerry's, which was under his pillow, was not dis- 

A few days after the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord, 
the provincial congress re-assembled. It was now apparent 
that the controversy must be decided by force of arms. At 
this time, it was found that almost every article of a military 
kind was yet to be procured. The province possessed no 
magazines of arms, and had little ammunition. No contracts 
for provision or clothing had yet been made. To meet these 
exigencies, a committee, at the head of which was Mr. 
Gerry, was immediately appointed, and clothed with the 
proper power. The article most needed was that of gun- 
powder, to procure which, Mr. Gerry was specially commis- 
sioned by the committee. In the discharge of this duty, he 
wrote many letters to gentlemen in different parts of the 
country, from whom he received others in reply. One of 
these will be found in the life of Robert Treat Paine, in a 
preceding page. Mr. Gerry did more : in many cases he 
hesitated not to advance his own funds, where immediate 
payment was required. In the progress of the war, the evi-' 
dence of these payments was lost, or mislaid, and their final 
settlement was attended with heavy pecuniary loss. 

On the 17th day of June, was fought the celebrated battle 
of Bunker Hill. The provincial congress was at that time in 
session, at Watertown. Before the battle. Dr. Joseph Warren, 
president of the congress, who was the companion and room 
mate of Mr. Gerry, communicated to the latter his intention 
of mingling in the expected contest. The night preceding 
the doctor's departure for Bunker Hill, he lodged, it is sai^ 


In the same bed with Mr. Gerry. In the morning, in reply 
to the admonitions of his friend, as he was about to leave 
him, he uttered the well known words, '' Dulce et decorum 
esU pro patria morV^* 

Mr. Gerry, on that day, attended the provincial congress. 
His brave friend, as is well known, followed where his duty 
called him, to the memorable ^' heights of Bunker," where 
he fell fighting for the cause of liberty and his country. 

At an early period in 1775, Mr. Gerry submitted a propo- 
sal in the provincial congress of Massachusetts, for a law to 
encourage the fitting out of armed vessels, and to provide for 
the adjudication of prizes. This was a step of no small im- 
portance. To grant letters of marque and of reprisal, is the 
prerogative of the sovereign. For a colony to authorise 
such an act, was rebellious, if not treasonable. The proposal 
was sustained, though not without opposition. Mr. Gerry 
was chairman of the committee appointed to prepare the act 
to authorise privateering, and to establish admiralty courts. 
Governor Sullivan was another member of it; and on these 
two gentlemen devolved the task of drawing the act, which 
they executed in a small room under the belfry of the Water* 
town meeting house, in which the provincial congress was 
holding its session. This law, John Adams pronounced 
one of the most important measures of Uie Revolution. 
Under the sanction of it, the Massachusetts cruizers captured 
many of the enemy's vessels, the cargoes of which furnished 
various articles of necessity to the colonies. 

Of the court of admiralty, established in pursuance of the 
law proposed by Mr. Gerry, that gentleman himself was ap- 
pointed a judge, for the counties of Suffolk, Middlesex, and 
Essex. This honour, however, he declined, from a determi- 
nation to devote himself to more active duties. 

To such duties, he was not long after called, by the suffra- 
ges of his fellow citizens, who elected him a delegate from 
Massachusetts to the continental congress, in which body he 
took his seat, on the 9th of February, 1776. For this 
distinguished station he was eminently fitted ; and of this 

* It is flweet and glanow to lay down life foe one's fcoonftfy. 



body he continaed a member with few intervals, until Sep 
tember, 1785. Our limits preclude a minute notice of the 
Tarious duties which he there discharged. On various occa* 
nons he was appointed to serve on committees, whose busi- 
ness required great labour, and whose results involved the 
highest interests of the country. He assisted in arranging 
the plan of a general hospital, and of introducing a better 
discipline into the army ; and regulating the commbsary's 
departments. In several instances, he was appointed, with 
others, to visit the army, to examine the state of the money 
and finances of the country, and to expedite the settlement 
of public accounts. In the exercise of his various official 
functions, no man exhibited more fidelity, or a more unweari- 
ed zeal. He sustained the character of an active and resolute 
statesman, and retired from the councils of the confederacy, 
with all the honours which patriotism, integrity, and talents, 
could acquire in the service of the state. Before leaving 
New- York, he married a respectable lady, who had been 
educated in Europe, with whom he now returned to Massa- 
chusetts, and fixed his residence at Cambridge, a few miles 
from Boston. 

From the quiet of retirement, Mr. Gerry was again sum- 
moned in 1787, by his native state, as one of its representa- 
tives to a convention, called for the '< sole and express pur- 
pose of revising the articles of confederation, and reporting 
to congress, and to the several legislatures, such alterations 
and provisions as shall render the federal constitution ade- 
quate to the exigencies of government, and the preservation 
of the union.*' 

On the meeting of this convention, little difference of 
opinion prevailed, as to the great principles which should 
form the basis of the constitution ; but on reducing these 
principles to a system, perfect harmony did exist. To Mr. 
Gerry, as well as others, there appeared strong objections to 
the constitution, and he declined affixing his signature to the 
instrument These objections he immediately set forth, in a 
letter addressed to his constituents, in which he observes : 
*' My principal objections to the plan are, that there is no 

BLBillBOS GBRRT. 152t 

adequate provision for a representation of the ]>eople ; lliat 
they have no security for the right of election ; that some ot 
tiie powers of the legislature are ambiguous, and others in- 
definite and dangerous ; that the executive is blended with, 
and will have an undue influence over, the legislature ; that 
the judicial department will be oppressive ; that treaties of 
the highest importance may be formed by the president, with 
tiie advice of two thirds of a quorum of the senate ; and that 
the system is without the security of a bill of rights. These 
are objections which are not local, but apply equally to all 
the states. 

** As the convention was called for ' the sole and express 
purpose of revising the articles of confederation, and report- 
ing to congi^ess and to the several legislatures, such altera- 
tions and provisions as shall render the federal constitution 
adequate to the exigencies of government, and the preserva- 
tion of the union,' I did not conceive that these powers ex- 
tended to the formation of the plan proposed ; but the con- 
vention being of a different opinion, I acquiesced in it ; being 
fully convinced, that to preserve the union, an efficient go- 
vernment was indispensably necessary ; and that it would be 
difficult to make proper amendments to the articles of con- 

" The constitution proposed has few, if any, federal fea- 
tures, but is rather a system of national government ; never- 
theless, in many respects, I think it has great merit, and, by 
proper amendments, may be adapted to * the exigencies of go 
vernment,' and the preservation of liberty." 

When the constitution was submitted to the state conven- 
tion of Massachusetts, of three hundred and sixty members, 
of which that body consisted, a majority of nineteen only 
were in favour of its ratification. Although so many coin- 
cided with Mr. Gerry in his views of the constitution, he was 
highly censured by its advocates, who, under the excitement 
of party feelings, imputed to him motives by which he, pro- 
fciWy, was not actuated. 

Under the new constitution, Mr. Gerry was chosen Ijy the 
ii^bitants ef the district in which he resided, as their repre- 


flOilatiTe to eongress. la this stetion he served his consti- 
toeoto for four years; aad* althougk he had fonneriy opposed 
the adepdon of the emstitatuMi, he aow eheerfiilly imited in 
carrying it into efieet» siaoe it had received the sanction ol 
his country. Indeed, he took occasion, on the floor of con- 
gress, not long after taking his seat in that body, to dedarp, 
^ that the feder^ constitution haying become the supreme 
law of the land, he conceired the salvation of the country 
depended on its being carried into effect.*' 

At the expiration of the above period, although again pro- 
posed as a delegate to congress, he declined a re-election, and 
again retired to his iamily at Cambridge. 

On the fourth of March, 1797, Mr. Adams, who had pre- 
viously been elected to succeed General Washington in the 
presidency, entered upon that office. France had already 
commenced her aggressions on the rights and commerce of 
the United States, and General Pinckney had been dispatch- 
ed to that country, to adjust existing differences. 

Immediately upon succeeding to the presidency, Mr 
Adams received intelligence that the French republic had 
announced to General Pinckney its determination " not to 
receive another minister from the United States, until after 
the redress of grievances." 

in this state of things, the president convened congress by 
proclamation, on the fifteenth of June. Although keenly 
sensible of the indignity offered to the country by the French 
government, Mr. Adams, in his speech to congress, informed 
that body, ** that as he believed neither the honour, nor the 
interests of the United States, absolutely forbade the repeti- 
tion of advances for securing peace and friendship with 
France, be should institute a fresh attempt at negociation." 

Upon his recommendation, therefore, three envoys extra . 
ordinary, Mr. Gerry, General Pinckney, and Mr. Marshall, 
were dispatched to carry into effect the pacific dispositions of 
llie United States. On their arrival at Paris, the French di- 
rectory, under various pretexts, delayed to acknowledge 
tliem in their ofiicial capacity. In the mean time, the tools 
of that government addressed them, demanding, in explicit 


t^rms, a large sum of money, as the condition of any nego- 
ciaiionh This being refused, an attempt was next made to 
exeite their fears for themselves, and their country. Ill the 
spring of 1798, two of the envoys^ Messrs. Pinckney and 
Marshall, were ordered to quit the territories of France, while 
Mr. Gerry was invited to remain, and resume the negociation 
which had been suspended. 

Although Mr. Gerry accepted the invitation to remain, yet 
he uniformly and resolutely refused to resume the negocia^ 
lion. < His object in remaining in France was to prevent an 
immediate rupture with that country, which, it was appre- 
hended, would result from his departure. Although he was 
censured, at the time, for the course he took, his continuance 
seems to have resulted in the good of his country. " He 
finally saved the peace of the nation,'' said the late President 
Adams, " for he alone discovered and furnished the evidence 
that X. Y. and Z. were employed by Talleyrand ; and he 
alone brought home the direct, formal, and official assurances 
upon which the subsequent commission proceeded, and peace 
was made." 

On his return to America, in October, 1798, Mr. Gerry 
was solicited, by the republican party in Massachusetts, to 
become their candidate for the office of governor. At that 
period, much excitement prevailed on the subject of politics, 
throughout the country. Although at first unsuccessful, his 
party, in 1805, for the first time, obtained the governor of 
their choice. 

In the following year, Mr. Gerry retired. But in 1810, he 
was again chosen chief magistrate of that commonwealth, in 
which office he was continued for the two following years. 
In 1812, he was recommended to the people of the United 
States, by the republican members of congress, to fill the of- 
fice of vice president. To a letter addressed to him, by a 
committee announcing his nomination, he replied, '< The 
question respecting the acceptance, or non-acceptance of 
this proposition, involved many considerations of great 
weight, in my mind ; as they related to the nation, to this 
state* and to my domestic concerns. But it is neither ezpe« 


dieot or necoMMuy to state the points, since one wm pura 
mount to the rest, that * in a republic, the seryice of each 
dtixoi is due to the state, even in profound peace, and much 
more so when the nation stands on the threshold of war.' 
I have the honour franklj to acknowledge this distinguished 
testimony of confidence, on the part of my congressional 
friends and fellow citizens, gpratefully to accept their proffer, 
and freely to assure them of erery exertion in my power, for 
meriting in office, the approbation of themselves and of the 

The nomination of Mr. Gerry, thus made, was followed by 
his election, and on the fourth of March, 1813, he was inaa- 
gurated vice president of the United States. Providence, 
however, had not destined him to the long enjoyment of the 
dignified station which he now held. While attending to his 
duties, at Washington, he was suddenly summoned from the 
scene of his earthly labours. A beautiful monument, erected 
at the national expense, covers his remains, and records the 
date and circumstances of his death, 



Vice President of the United Statet, 

Who died Buddexily, in this city, on his way to the 

Cupitol, as President of the Senate, 

November 23d, 1814. 

Aged 70. 



J08IAB BaetlbtTv 
William Whipple, 
Matthew Thornton. 


Josiah Bartlett, the first of the New-Hampshire delega* 
tion who signed the declaration of independence, was horn 
in Ameshury, Massachusetts, in 1729. He was the fourth 
son of Stephen Bartlett, whose ancestors came from England 
during the seventeenth century, and settled at Beverly. 

The early education of young Bartlett appears to have heen 
respectahle, although he had not the advantages of a col- 
legiate course. At the age of sixteen he began the study of 
medicine, for which he had a competent knowledge of the 
Greek and Latin languages. 

On finishing his preliminary studies, which were superin- 
tended by Dr. Ordway, of Amesbury, and to which he devoted 
himself with indefatigable zeal for five years, he commenced 
the practice of his profession at Kingston, in the year 1750. 

Two years from the above date, he was attacked by a fever, 
which for a time seriously threatened his life. From an inju- 
dicious application of medicines, and too close a confinement 
to his chamber, life appeared to be rapidly ebbing, and all 
hopes of his recovery were relinquished. In this situation, 
one evening, he strongly solicited his attendants to give him 
some cider. At first they were strongly reluctant to comply 
with his wishes, under a just apprehension, that serious and 


crcn hUA consequences might ensue. The patient, howerer, 
would not be pacified, until his request was granted At 
length they complied with his request, and of the cider thus 
given him, he continued to drink at intervals during the night 
The effect of it proved highly beneficial. It mitigated the 
febrile symptoms, a copious perspiration ensued, and from 
this time he began to recover. 

This experiment, if it may be called an ezpenment, was 
treasured up in the mind of Dr. Bartlett, and seems to have led 
him to abandon the rules of arbitrary system, for the more 
just principles of nature and experience. He became a skil- 
ful and distinguished practitioner. To him is ascribed the 
first application of Peruvian bark in cases of canker, which 
before, was considered an inflammatory, instead of a putrid 
disease, and as such had been unsuccessfully treated. 

This disease, which was called the throat distemper, first 
appeared at Kingston, in the spring of 1735. The first per- 
son afflicted with it, was said to have contracted the disease 
from a hog, which he skinned and opened, and which had 
died of a distemper of the throat. The disease which was 
supposed thus to have originated, soon after spread abroad 
through the town, and to children under ten years of age it 
proved exceedingly fatal. Like the plague, it swept its vic- 
tims to the grave, almost without warning, and some are said 
to have expired while sitting at play handling their toys. At 
this time, medical skill was baffled ; every method of treat- 
ment pursued, proved ineffectual. It ceased its ravages only 
where victims were no longer to be found. 

In the year 17M, Kingston was again visited with this ma- 
lignant disease* Doctor Bartlett was at this time a physician 
of the town. At first he treated it as an inflammatory disease ; < 
but at length, satisfied that this was not its character, he ad- 
ministered Peruvian bark to a child of his own who was 
afflicted with the disease, and with entire success. From this 
time the use of it became general, as a remedy in diseases of 
the same type. 

A man of the distinguished powers of Doctor Bartlett, and 
of his decision and integrity, was not likely long to remain 



unnoticeclt in times which tried men's souls. The public at- 
tention was soon directed to him» as a gentleman in whom 
confidence might be reposed, and whose duties, whatever they 
might be, would be discharged with promptness and fidelity. 

In the year 1765, Doctor Bartlett was elected to the legis* 
lature of the province of New-Hampshire, from the town of 
Kingston. In his legislative capacity, he soon found occa- 
sion to oppose the mercenary views of the royal governor. 
He would not become subservient to the will of a man whose 
object, next to the display of his own authority, was the sub- 
jection of the people to the authority of the British adminis- 

The controversy between Great Britain and her colonies, 
was now beginning to assume a serious aspect. At this time, 
John Wentworth was the royal governor, a man of no ordi- 
nary sagacity. Aware of the importance of attaching the dis- 
tinguished men of the colony to the royal cause, among other 
magistrates, he appointed Dr. Bartlett to the office of justice 
of the peace. This was indeed an inconsiderable honour: 
bat as an evidence of the govemor*s respect for his talents 
and influence, was a point of some importance. Executive 
patronage, however, was not a bait by which such a man as 
Dr. Bartlett would be seduced. He accepted the appoint-* 
ment, but was as firm in his opposition to the royal governor 
as he had been before. 

The opposition which was now abroad in America against 
the British government, and which continued to gather 
strength until the year 1774, had made equal progress in 
the province of New-Hampshire. At this time, a committee 
of correspondence, agreeably to the recommendation and ex- 
ample of other colonies, was appointed by the house of repre- 
sentatives. For this act, the governor immediately dissolved 
the assembly. But the committee of correspondence soon 
after re-assembled the representatives, by whom circulars 
were addressed to the several towns, to send delegates 
to a convention, to be held at Exeter, for the purpose of se- . 
lecting deputies to the continental congress, which was to 

meet at Philadelphia in the ensuing September. ^ 


In Hxm eoBTentimifDr. Bartlelt, and John Pkkerinf, % kir- 
yer, of Portomoath, were appointed delegates to congrem. 
The former of these having a little previously lost his house 
bj fire* was under the necessity of declining the honour. The 
latter gentleman wishing also to be excused, other g^itlemea 
were elected in their stead. 

Dr. Bartlett, however, retained his seat in the house of rep* 
resentatives of the province. Here, as in other colonies, the 
collisions between the royal governor and the people con- 
tinued to increase. The former was more arbitrary in his 
proceedings; the latter better understood their rights, and 
were more independent The conspicuous part which Dr. 
Bartlett took on the patriotic side, the firmness with which he 
resisted the royal exactions, rendered him highly obnoxious 
to the governor, by whom he was deprived of his commission 
as justice of the peace, and laconically dbmissed from his 
command in the militia. 

From this time, the political difficulties in NeW'^Hampshire 
greatly increased. At length, Governor ^yentworth found it 
necessary for his personal safety to retire on board the 
Favey man of war, then lying in the harbour of Portsmouth* 
From this he went to Boston, and thence to the Isle of Shoals, 
where he issued his proclamation, adjourning the assembly 
till the following April. This act, however, terminated the 
royal government in the province of New-Hampshire. A 
provincial congress, of which Matthew Thornton was presi- 
dent, was soon called, by which a temporary govemmept was 
organized, and an oath of allegiance was framed, which every 
individual was obliged to take. Thus, after subsisting for a 
period of ninety years, the British government was forever 
annihilated in New-Hampshire. 

In September, 1775, Dr. Bartlett, who had been elected to 
the continental congress, took his seat in that body. In this 
new situation, he acted with his accustomed energy, and ren- 
dered important services to his country. At this time, con- 
gress met at nine in the morning, and conti/iued its session 
until four o'clock in the afternoon. The state of the country 
required this incessant application of the meqAbers. Bui 


sniety and fatigue tlie3r could endure withottt repining. The 
Hres and fortunes of themselres and families, and fellow 
citizena, were in jeopardy. liberty* too, was in jeopardy. 
Like faithfnl sentinels, therefore, they sustained with cheer*- 
fuineBs their laborious task ; and, when occasion required* 
could dispense with the repose of nights. In this unwearied 
dcTotion to business. Dr. Bartiett largely participated ; in 
consequence of which, his health and spirits were for a time 
considerably affected. 

In a second election, in the early part of the year 177Q, 
Dr. Bartiett was again chosen a delegate to the continental 
congress. He was present on the memorable occasion of 
taking the rote on tiie question of a declaration of indepea* 
dence. On putting the question, it was agreed to begin with 
the northernmost colony. Dr. Bartiett, therefore, had the 
honour of being called upon for an expression of his opinion, 
and of first (^ring his vote in favour of the resolution. 

On the eracuation of Philadelphia, by the British, in ITTSy 
congress, which had for some time held its sessions at York* 
town, adjourned to meet at the former place, within three 
days, that is, on the second day of July. The delegates now 
left Yorktown, and in difierent companies proceeded to the 
place of adjournment. Dr. Bartiett, however, was attended 
only by a single servant They were under the necessity of 
passing through a forest of considerable extent ; it was re- 
ported to be the lurking place of a band of robbers, by whom 
several persons had been waylaid, and plundered of their 
effects. On arriving at an inn, at the entrance of the wood. 
Dr. Bartiett was informed of the existence of this ^and of 
desperadoes, and cautioned against proceeding, until other 
travellers should arrive. While the doctor lingered for the 
purpose of refreshing himself and horses, the landlord, to 
corroborate the statement which he had made, and to heighten 
BtiU more the apprehension of the travellers, related the fol^ 
lowing anecdote. ** A paymaster of the army, with a large 
quantity of paper money, designed for General Washington, 
^ attempted the passage of the wood, a few weeks before. 
^ arriving at the skirts of '^he wood, he was apprised of 



hi# danger, but as il was necessary for him to proceed, h* 
laid aiiide his militarjr garb, purchased a worn oat horse, and 
a saddle and bHdle, and a farmer's saddlebags of correspond 
ing appearance : in the latter, he deposited his money, and • 
with a careless manner proceeded on his way. At some dis- 
tance from the skirt of the wood, he was met by two of the 
gang, who demanded his money. Others were skidking at 
no great distance in the wood, and waiting the issue of the 
interview. To the demand for money, he replied, that he 
had a small sum, which they were at liberty to take, if they 
belieyed they had a better right to it than himself and fa 
mily. Taking from his pocket a few small pieces of money, 
he offered them to them; at the same time, in the style and 
simplicity of a quaker, he spoke to them of the duties of reli- 
gion. Deceived by the air of honesty which he assumed, 
they suffered him to pass, without further molestation, the 
one observing to the other, that so poor a quaker was not 
worth the robbing. Without any futther interrupUon, the 
poor quaker reached the other ^ide of the wood, and at length 
delivered the contents of his saddlebags to General /Wash* 

During the relation of this anecdote, several other members 
of congress arrived, when, having prepared their arms, they 
proceeded on their journey, and in safety passed over the in« 
fested territory. 

On the evacuation of Philadelphia, it was obvious from the 
condition of the city, that an enemy had been there. In a 
letter to a friend, Dr. Bartlett describes the alterations and 
ravages* which had been made. ** Congress," he says, <* was 
obliged to hold its sessions in the college hall, the state house 
having been left by the enemy in a condition which could 
scarcely be described. Many of the finest houses were con- 
verted into stables ; parlour floors cut through, and the dung 
shovelled through into the cellars. Through the country, 
north of the city, for many miles, the hand of desolation had 
marked its way. Houses had been consumed, fences carried / 
off, gardens and orchards destroyed. Even the great roads 


Were' scarcely to be discarered, amidst the eonfnsion and de- 
solation which prerailed." 

In Aug'ust, 1778, a new election took place in Nidw*Hamp- 
shtre, when Dr. Bartlett was again chosen a delegate to con- 
gress ; he continued, however, at Philadelphia, but an incon- 
siderable part of ^le session, his domestic conceVns requiring 
his attention. Daring the remainder of his life, he resided in 
New-Hampshire, filling up the measure of his usefulness in a 
zealous ^.evotion to the interests of the state. 

In the early part of the year 1779, in a letter to one of the 
delegates in congress. Dr. Bartlett gives a' deplorable account 
of the dif&ctilties and sufferings of the people in New-Hamp- 
i&ire. The money of the country had become much depre- 
ciated, and provisions were scarce and high. Indian corn 
was sold at ten dollars a bushel. Other things wtee in the 
same proportion. The soldiers of the army could scarcely 
subsist on their pay and the officers, at times, found it diffi- 
cult to keep them together. 

During the same year. Dr. Bartlett was appointed chief 
justice of the court of common pleas. In 3782, he became' 
an associate justice of the supreme court, and in 1788, he 
was advanced to the head of the bench. In the course of 
tiiis latter year, the present constitution was presented to the 
several states, for their consideration. Of the convention in 
New-Hampshire, which adopted it. Dr. Bartlett was a member, 
and by his zeal was accessory to its ratification. In 1789, 
be was elected a senator to congress ; but the infirmities of 
age induced him to decline the office. In 1793, he was elect- 
ed first governor of the state, which office he filled, with his 
accustomed fidelity, until the infirm state of his health obliged 
bim to resign the chief magistracy, and to retire wholly from 
public business. In January, 1794, he expressed his deter- 
iQiaation to close his public career in the following letter to 
the legislative : 

" Gentlemen of the Legislature — ^After having served the 
public for a number of years, to the best of my abilities, in 
the various offices to which I have had the honour to be ap- 
pointed, I think it proper, before your adjournment, to signify 

8 ia» 

US xsw-HAiiranKx ssuioATioir. 

to you* and tbtough you to my fdlow citizeDs at large, that 1 
now find myself so far advanced in age, thai it will be expe- 
dient for me, at the close of the session, to retire from the - 
cares and fatigues of public business, to the repose of a pri- 
Tate life, widi a grateful sense of the repeated marks of trust 
and confidence that my fellow citizens hare reposed in me, 
and with my best wishes for the future peace and prosperity 
of Ae state." 

The repose of a private life, however, which must have be- 
eome eminently desirable to a man whose life had been past 
in the toils and troubles of the revolution, was destined to 
be of short duration. This eminent man, and distingmshed 
patriot, closed his earthly career on the nineteenth day ot 
May, 1795, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. 
. To the sketches of the life of this distinguished man, little 
need be added, respecting his character. His patriotism wa« 
of a singularly elevated character, and the sacrifices which he 
made for the good of his country were such as few men are 
willing to make. He possessed a quick and penetrating mind, 
and, at the same time, he was distinguished for a sound and 
accurate judgment A scrupulous justice marked his dealings 
with all men, and he exhibited great fidelity in his engage- 
ments. Of his religious views we are unable to speak widi 
confidence, although there is some reason to believe that his 
principles were less strict, than pertained to the puritans of 
the day* He rose to office, and was recommended to the 
confidence of his fellow citizens, not less by the genera] pro- 
bity of his character, than the force of his genius. Unlike 
many others, he had no family, or party connexions, to raise 
ham to influence in society ; but standing on his own merits, 
he passed through a succession of offices which he sustained 
with uncommon honour to himsell^ and the dutiies of which he 
discharged not only to the astisfoctioa of his fellow citizens, 
but with the highest benefit to his country. 




William Whipple was the eidest son of William Whipple, 
nd was born at Kitteiy, Mame, in the year 1730. His father 
was a native of Ipswich, and was bred a maltster ; but for seve- 
ral years after his removal to Kittery, he followed the sea. His 
mother was the daughter of Robert Cutts, a distinguished ship- 
baildwy who established himself at Kittery, where he became 
wealUiy, and at his death left a handsome fortune to his 

The education of young Whipple was limited to a public 
school, in his native town. It was respectable, but did not 
embrace that variety and extent of learning, which is general* 
ly obtained at some higher seminar}% 

On leaving i^hool, he entered on board a merchant vessel, 
and for several years devoted himself to commercial business, 
on the sea. His voyages were chiefly confined to the West> 
Indies, ai^ proving successAil, he acquired a considerable 

In 1759, he relinquished a seafaring life, and commenced 
business with a brother at Portsmouth, where they continued 
in trade, mitil within a few years of the revolution. 

Mr. Whipple early entered with spirit into the controversy 
between Great Britain ai^d the colonies, and being distin* 
guished for the general probity of his character, as well as 
for the force of his genius, was frequently elected by his 
townsmen to offices of trust and responsibility. In the pro- 
vincial congress, which met at Exeter, January, 1775, for the 
purpose of electing delegates to the continental congress in 
Philadelphia, he represented the town of Portsmouth. He 
also represented that town in the provincial congress, which 
was assembled at Exeter the following May, and by that body 
was appointed one of the provincial committee of safety. In 
1776 he was appointed a delegate to the general congress, of 
which body he continued a member until the middle of Sep- 

In this important situation, he was distinguished foi great 


actiTity, and by his perseyerance and application commeinded 
himself ^to the respect of the national assembly,^^nd to his 
consUtuenta at home. He was particularly active as one of 
the superintendants of the commissary's and quartermaster's 
departments, in which he was successful in correcting many 
abuses, and in giving to those establishments a proper cor« 
re ctness and efficiency. 

*' The memorable day which gave bir^h to the declaration 
of independence afforded, in the case of William Whipple,'* 
as a writer observes, ** a striking eisample of the uncertainty- 
of human affairs, and the triumphs of perseverance. The, 
cabin boy, who thirty years before had looked forward to a 
command of a vessel as the consummation of all his hopes and 
wishes, now stood amidst the congress of 1T76, and looked 
around upon a conclave of patriotSf such as the world had never 
witnessed. He whose ambition once centered in inscribe 
ing his name as commander upon a crew-list, now affixed his 
signature to a document, which has embalmed it for posterity." 

In the year 1T77, while Mr. Whipple was a member of 
congress, the appointment of brigadier general was bestowed 
upon him, and the celebrated John Stark, by the assembly of 
New-Hampshire. Great alarm at this time prevailed in New- 
Hampshire, in consequence of the evacuation of Ticonderoga 
by the Americans, its consequent possession by the British, 
and the progress of General Burgoyue, with a large force, 
toward the state. The militia of New-Hampshire were ex- 
peditiously organised into two brigades, the command of 
which was given to the above two generals. The intrepid 
conduct of General Stark, in the ever memorable defence of 
Bennington, must be only alluded to in this place. The advan- 
tage thus gained, laid the foundation of the still more signal vic- 
tory which was obtained in the October following by General 
Gates, over the distinguished Burgoyne and his veteran sol- 
diers, at Saratoga ; since it was here proved to the militia, 
that the Hessians and Indians, so much dreaded by them, 
were not invincible. The career of conquest which had before 
animated the troops of Burgoyne was checked. For the first 
time, General Burgoyne was sensible of the danger of his 


sltoatioii. He had regarded the men of New-Hampshire, and 
the Green Mountains, with contempt. But the hattle of 
Bennington taught him hoth to fear and respect them. In a 
letter addressed about this time to Lord Germaine, he re- 
marks : " The New-Hampshire Grants, till of late but littleT 
known, hang like a cloud on my left." 

The ill bodings of Burgoyne were realised too soon, few 
his own reputation. The militia from the neighbouring states 
hastened to reinforce the army of General Gates, which wa« 
now looking forward to an engagement with that of General 
Burgoyne. This engagement soon after took place, as al- 
ready noticed, at Saratoga, and ended in the surrender of the 
royal army to the American troops. In this desperate battle, 
General Whipple commanded the troops of New-Hampshire. 
On that occasion, his meritorious conduct was rewarded by 
his being jointly appointed with Colonel Wilkinson, as the re- 
presentative of General Gates, to meet two officers from Gen- 
eral Burgoyne, and settle the articles of capitulation. He was 
also selected as one of the officers, who were appointed to 
conduct the surrendered army to their destined encampment, 
on Winter Hill, in the vicinity of Boston. On this expedi- 
tion. General Whipple was attended by a faithful negro ser- 
vant, named Prinze, a native of Africa, and whom the gene- 
ral had imported several years before. " Prince/' said the . 
general, one day, as they were proceeding to their place of 
destination, '* we may be called into action, in which case, 
I trust you will behave like a man of courage, and fight 
biavely for the country." " Sir," replied Prince, in a manly 
tone, '* I have no wish to fight, and no inducement; but had I 
my liberty, I would fight in defence of the country to the last 
drop of my blood." " Well," said the general, " Prince, from 
this moment you are free." 

In 1778, General Whipple, with a detachment of New- 
Hampshire militia, was engaged, under General Sullivan, in 
executing a plan which had for its object the retaking of 
Rhode Island from the British. By some misunderstanding, 
the French fleet, under Count D'Estaing, which was destined 
to co-operate with General Sullivan, failed of rendering th« 


It IB not a little remarkable, that, although a physician, 
and consequently often exposed to the whooping cough, he 
did not take that disease until he had passed his eightieth 
year. Although at this time enfeebled by years, he survived 
the attack, and even continued his medical practice. 

In stature. Dr. Thornton exceeded six feet in height, but 
he was remarkably well formed. His complexion was dark, 
and his eyes black and piercing. His aspect was imcom- 
monly grave, especially for one who was naturally given to 
good humour and hilarity. 

Dr. Thornton died while on a visit at Newburyport, Mas- 
sachusetts, on the 24th of June, 1803, in the 89th year of his 
age. In the funeral sermon by Rev. Dr. Burnap, we are 
furnished with the following sketch. " He was venerable 
for his age, and skill in his profession, and for the several 
very important and honourable offices he had sustained ; 
noted for the knowledge he had acquired, and his quick 
penetration into matters of abstruse speculation ; exemplary 
for his regard for the public institutions of religion, and foi 
his constancy in attending the public worship, where he trod 
the courts of the house of God, with steps tottering with 
age and infirmity. Such is a brief outline of one who was 
honoured in his day and generation ; whose virtues were a 
model for imitation, and while memory does her office, will 
be had in grateful recoilecti6n." 


Stephen Hopkins, 
William Ellert. 


Stephen Hopkins was a native of tha /artof Provideace 
which is now called Scituate, where he v is horn on the 7th 
of March, 1707. His parentage was very respectable, being 
a descendant of Benedict Arnold, the &rst governor of Rhod^ 

His early education was limited, being confined to the in* 
struction imparted in the common schools of the country. 
Yet it is recorded of him, that he excelled in a knowledge of 
penmanship, and in the practical branches of mathematics, 
particularly survepng. 

For several years he followed the profession of a farmer. 
At an early period, he was elected town clerk of Scituate« 
and some time after was chosen a representative from that 
town to the general assembly. He was subsequently ap- 
pointed a justice of the peace, and a justice of one of the 
courts of common pleas. In 1733, he became chief justice 
of that court 

In 1742, he disposed of his estate in Scituate, and removed 
to Providence, where he erected a house, in which he con- 
tinued to reside till his death. In this latter place he entered 
into mercantile business, and was extensively engaged in 
building and fitting out vessels. 



When a representatiye from Scituate. he was elected 
•peaker of the house of representatives. To this latter office 
he was again chosen after his removal to Providence, and 
continued to occupy the station for several successive years* 
being a representative from the latter town. In 1751, he 
was chosen chief justice of the superior court, in which office 
he continued till the year 1754. 

In this latter year he was appointed a commissioner from 
Rhode Island, to the celebrated convention which met at Al- 
bany ; which had for its object the securing of the friendship 
of the five nations of Indians, in the approaching French war, 
and an union between the several colonies of America. 

In 1756, he was elected chief magistrate of the colony of 
Rhode Island, which office he continued to hold, with but few 
intervals, until the year 1767. In the discharge of the duties 
of this responsible station, he acted with dignity and decision. 
The prosperity of his country lay near his heart, nor did he 
hesitate to propose and support the measures, which appeared 
the best calculated to promote the interests of the colonies in 
opposition to the encroachments of British power. 

At an early period of the difficulties between the colonies 
and Great Britain, he took an active and decided part in 
favour of the former. In a pamphlet, entitled, *^ The rights 
of colonies examined," he exposed the injustice of the 
stamp act, and various other acts of the British government 
This pamphlet was published by order of the general assem- 
bly, in 1765. 

The siege of fort William Henry, by the Marquis de Mont- 
calm, 1757, and its surrender to the force under that genera], 
with the subsequent cruel outrages and murders committed 
by the savages of the French army, are too well known to 
need a recital in this place. It is necessary only to state, 
that the greatest excitement prevailed throughout all the colo- 
nies. In this excitement, the inhabitants of Rhode Island 
largely participated. An agreement was entered into by a 
volunteer corps, couched in the following terms : 

** Whereas the British colonies in America are invaded by 
a large army of .French and Indian enemies, who have 


already possessed themselves of fort William Henry, and are 
now on their march to penetrate further into the country, and 
from whom we have nothing to expect, should they succeed 
in their enterprise, but death and devastation ; and as his ma« 
jesty's principal officers in the parts invaded, have in the 
most pressing and moving manner, called on all his majesty's 
faithful subjects, for assistance to defend the country : — ^There^ 
fore, we, whose names are underwritten, thinking it our duty 
to do every thing in our power, for the defence of our liberties, 
families,^ and property, are willing, and have agreed to enter 
voluntarily into the service of our country, and go in a war- 
like manner against the common enemy ; and hereby call up* 
on and invite all our neighbours, who have families and pro^ 
perty to defend, to join with us in this undertaking, promising to 
march as soon as we are two hundred and fifty in number, 
recommending ourselves and our cause to the favourable 
protection of Almighty God." 

To this agreement, Mr. Hopkins was the first to affix his 
name, and was chosen to command the company thus raised; 
which consisted of some of the most distinguished men in 
Providence. Preparations for a speedy departure for the 
field of action were made, but on the eve of their march, in- 
teUigence arrived, that their services were no longer necessa- 
ry, as the progress of hostilities towards the south was not to 
be expected. 

In 1774, Mr. Hopkins received the appointment of a dele- 
gate from Rhode Island to the celebrated congress, which met 
at Philadelphia that year. In this assembly he took his seat 
on the first day of the session, where he became one of the 
most zealous advocates of the measures adopted by that illus- 
trious body of men. 

In the year 1775 and 1776, he again represented Rhode 
Island in the continental congress. In this latter year he 
had the honour of affixing his name to the imperishable instru- 
ment, which declared the colonies to be free, sovereign, and 
independent states. He recorded his name with a trembling 
hand, the only instance in which a tremulous hand is visible 
among the fifly-six patriots who then wrote their names. But 


it was in this case only that the flesh was weak. Mr. Ho}>* 
kins had for some time been afflicted with a paralytic affection* 
which compelled him, when he wrote« to guide his right hand 
with his left. The spirit of the man knew no fear, in a case 
where life and liberty were at hazard. 

In 1778, Mr. Hopkins was a delegate to congress for the 
last time. But in seyeral subsequent years, he was a member 
of the general assembly of Rhode Island. The last year in 
which he thus senred, was that of 1779, at which time he was 
seventy-two yean of age. 

Mr. Hopkins lived to the 13th of July, 1785, when he 
closed his long, and honourable and useful life, at the advan- 
ced age of 78. His last illness was long, but to the period of 
his dissolution, he retained the full possession of his faculties. 
A vast assemblage of persons, consisting of judges of the 
courts, the president, professors and students of the college, 
together with the citizens of the town, and inhabitants of the 
state, followed the remains of this eminent man to his resting 
place in the grave. 

Although the early education of Mr. Hopkins was limited, 
as has already been observed, the vigour of his understanding 
enabled him to surmount his early deficiencies, and an 
assiduous application to the pursuit of knowledge, at lengthy 
placed him among the distinguished literary characters of the 
day. He delighted in literature and science* He was atten- 
tive to books, and a close observer of mankind ; thus ha went 
on improving, until the period of his death. As a public 
speaker, he was always clear, precise, pertinent, and pow- 

As a mathematician, Mr. Hopkins greatly excelled. Till 
in advanced age, he was extensively employed in surveying 
lands. He was distinguished for great exactness in his calcu- 
lations, and an unusual knowledge of his business. 

As a statesman and a patriot, he was not less distinguished. 
He was well instructed in the science of politics; had an ea^ 
tensive knowledge of the rights of his country, and proved 
himself, through a longer life than falls to the lot of most men, 
an unshaken friend of his country, and an enemy to civil and 


religions intolerance. He went to his grave honoured as a 
Bkilfiil legislator, a righteous judge, an able representative, a 
dignified and upright governor. Charity was an inmate of his 
habitation. To the cry of suffering his ear was ever open, 
anl in the relief of affliction he ever delighted. 


William Ellert, the son of a gentleman o^ the same 
name, was born at Newport, on the 22d day of Decembery 
1727. His ancestors were originally from Bristol, in Eng- 
land, whence they emigrated to America during the latter 
part of the seventeenth century, and took up their residence 
at Newport, in Rhode Island. 

The early education of the subject of this memoir, was 
received almost exclusively from his father, who was a gra- 
duate of Harvard university; and who although extensively 
engaged in mercantile pursuits, found leisure personally to 
cultivate the mind of his son. At the age of sixteen, he wa.<i 
c|ualified for admission to the university, of which his father 
had been a men^ber before him. In his twentieth year, he 
left the university, having sustained, during his collegiate 
course, the character of a faithful and devoted student. In a 
knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages, he is said to 
have particularly excelled, and through the whole bustle of 
his active life, until the very hour of dissolution, he retained 
his fondness for them. 

On his return to Newport, he commenced the study of the 
law, and after the usual preparatory course, he entered upon 
the practice, which for twenty years he pursued with great 
aeal. During this period, no other particulars have been re* 
corded of him, than that he succeeded in acquiring a compe- 
tent fortune, and receiving the esteem and confidence. of his 
feUow citizens. 


At an earif period of the eontroyersj between Great Bri* 
tain and the colonies, Rhode Island strongly enlisted herself 
In the patriotic cause. She was not backward in expressing 
her disapprobation of the arbitrary measures of the pareAt 
country. Indeed, it is doubtful whether Rhode Island is not 
equally entitled, with Virginia and Massachusetts, to the ho^ 
nour which they claim, of being earliest in the measures lead- 
ing to the revolution. Among the great scenes which led the 
way to actual resistance, two occurred in Narraganset bay. 
The first of these was an attack by the people of Rhode Isl- 
and, upon the armed revenue sloop, Liberty, in the harbour 
of Newport, June 17th, 1760. The second was the memora- 
ble afiair of the Gaspee, June 9th, 1772, and in which it may 
be said, was shed the first blood in the revolution. This lat- 
ter occurrence excited an unusual alarm among the rojral 
party in the provinces, and gave occasion to Governor Hutch- 
inson to address the following letter to Commodore Gambler : 
** Our last ships carried you the news of the burning of the 
Chspee schooner, at Providence. I hope, if there should be 
another like attempt, some concerned in it may be taken 
prisoners, and carried directly to England. A few punished 
at execution dock^ would be the only effectual preventive of 
any further attempts." 

By other acts did the people of Rhode Island, at an early 
period, evince their opposition to the royal government On 
the arrival in the year 1774 of the royal proclamation pro- 
hibiting the importation of fire arms from England, they dis- 
mantled the fort at Newport, and took possession of forty 
pieces of cannon. Again, on the occurrence of the battle of 
Lexington, they simultaneously roused to the defence of their 
fellow citizens, in the province of Massachusetts. Within 
three days after that memorable event, a large number of her 
militia were in the neighbourhood of Boston, ready to co- 
operate in measures cither of hostility or defence. In the 
same year she sent twelve hundred regular troops into the 
service, and afterwards furnished three state regiments to serve 
during the war. 

No sooner was the formation of a continental congress suf 


gttated, than Rhode Island took measures to be represented in 
t^t body, and elected as delegates two of her most dktin* 
gttished citizens, Governor Hopkins and Mr. Ward. 

During these movements in Rhode Island, Mr. Ellery, 
the subject of this notice, was by no means an idle spectator. 
The particular history of the part which he took in these 
transactions is, indeed, not recorded ; but the tradition is, that 
he was not behind his contemporaries either in spirit or action. 

In the election for delegates to the congress of 1776, Mr. 
Ellery was a successful candidate, and in that body took hif 
seat, on the seventeenth of May. Here, he soon became ar 
active and influential member, and rendered important ser 
vices to his country, by his indefatigable attention to duties 
assigned him, on several committees. During this session, 
he had the honour of affixing his name to the declaration of 
independence. Of this transaction he frequently spoke, and 
of the notice he took of the members of congress when fhey 
signed that instrument. He placed himself beside secretary 
Tliompson, that he might see how they looked^ as they put their 
names to their death warrant But while all appeared to 
feel the solemnity of the occasion, and their countenances 
bespoke their awe, it was unmingled with fear. They re- 
corded their names as patriots^ who were ready, should occa* 
sion require, to lead the way to martyrdom. 

In the year 1777, the marine committee of congress, of 
which Mr. Ellery was a member, recommended the plan, and 
it is supposed, at his suggestion, of preparing fire ships, and 
sending them out from the state of Rhode Island. Of this 
plan, the journals of congress speak in the following terms : 

*' If upon due consideration, jointly had by the navy board 
for the eastern department, and the governor and council of 
war for the state of Rhode Island, and for which purpose the 
said navy board are directed to attend upon the said gover- 
nor and council of war, the preparing fire ships be judged 
practicable, expedient, and advisable, the said navy board im- 
mediately purchase, upon as reasonable terms as possible, 
six ships, or square rigged vessels, at Providence, in the state 
0£ Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the best calcu- 


lated for fire ships, with all possible expedition ; that the said 
nary board provide proper materials for the samet and employ 
a proper captain or commander, one lieutenant, and a suitable 
number of men for each of the said ships, or vessels, of ap- 
proved courage and prudence ; and that notice be given to all 
the commanders of the continental ships and vessels in the 
port of Providence, to be in readiness to sail at a momeni'a 
warning : that as soon as the said fire ships are well prepared, 
the first favourable^ wind be embraced to attack the British 
ships and navy in the rivers and bays of the state of Rhode Isl- 
and and Providence Plantations : that the ofiicers of the conti- 
nental navy there, favour, as much as possible, the design, and 
use their utmost efiTorts to get out to sea, and proceed to such 
cruise, or to such ports, as the said navy board, or the marine 
committee, shall appoint or order.'* 

During the year that the British army under General Pig- 
got took possession of Newport, where they fortified them- 
selves, and continued their head quarters for some lime, 
the inhabitants sustained much injury in their property. Mr* 
Ellery shared in the conynon loss, his dwelling house being 
biurned, and other destruction of property occasioned. 

Mr. Ellery continued a member of congress until the year 
1785, and indeed, through that year, when he retired to his 
native state. Soon after, however, he was elected by con- 
gress, a commissioner of the continental loan ofiice, to which 
was subsequenUy added, .by the citizens of Rhode Island, the 
office of chief justice of their superior court, a station which 
he did not continue to hold long. On the organization of the 
federal government, he received from General Washington 
the appointment of collector of the customs for the town of 
Newport, an office which he retained during the remainder of 
his life. 

On the 15th of February, 1820, this venerable man — ^vene- 
rable for his age, which had been prolonged to ninety-two 
years, and venerable for the services which he had rendered 
ids country, wscs summoned to his account. His death was 
in unison with his life. He wasted gradually and almost im- 
perceptibly, until the powers of nature were literally worn 


9Ut by use. On the day on which his death occurred, he had 
risen, as usual, and rested in his old flag bottomed chair, the 
relict of half a century ; he had employed himself in reading 
TuUy's offices in Latin. 

While thus engaged, his family physidan called to see him. 
On feeling his pulse, he found that it had ceased to beat A 
draught of wine and water quickened it into life, however* 
again, and being placed and supported on the bed, he continu- 
ed reading, until the lamp of life^ in a moment of which his 
friends were ignorantf was extinguished. 

*<0f no distemper, of no blast he died, 
But fell like watama fmit that meUowed long, 
E'en wonder'd at because he falls no sooner. 
Fate seem'd to wifxd him up for fourscore years, 
Yet freshly ran he on twelve winters more : 
Till, like a clock worn out with eating' tim^ 
The wheels of weary life at last stood stiU." 

In the character of Mr.^ery there was much to admire. He 
was, indeed, thought by some to hare been too tenacious of his 
opinion, and not always free from asperity to others. But 
years mellowed down these unpUbsant traits of his cha- 
racter, and showed that he had exercised a watchfulness orer 
himself, not entirely in vain. He manifested an uneoimnon 
disregard x>f the applause of men. It was often upon his 
lips : ** humility rather than pride becomes such creatures as 
we are." He looked upon the world and its convulsions with 
religious serenity, and in times of public danger, and of public 
difficulty, he comforted himself and others, with the pious re- 
flection of the psalmist, '* The Lord reigneth.'* 

In conversation, Mr. Ellery was at once interesting and in- 
structive. His advice was often sought, and his opinions re- 
garded with great reverence. In letter writing he excelled, 
as he did in fine penmanship, which latter would be inferred 
from his signature to the declaration of independence. In 
stature, he was of middling height, and carried in his person 
the indications of a sound frame %nd an easy mind. In the 
courtesies of life, he kept pace with the improvements of the 
age; but his conversation, and dress, and habits of life, plainly 
showed that he belonged to a more primitive generation* 



RooxR Shxeman, 
Samuel Huntinoton, 
William Williams, 
Oliver Wolcott. 


Roger Sherman, the fttbject of the present memoir, was 
a natire of Newton, Massachusetts, where he was bom on 
the 19th of April, 172L His ancestors were from Dedham, 
in Engknd, whence they removed to America about the year 
1635, and settled at Watertown in the same state. The 
father of Mr. Sherman, whose name was William, was a 
respectable farmer, but from his moderate circumstances was 
unable to give his son the advantages of an education, be- 
yond those which were furnished by a parochial school. 

He was early apprenticed to a shoemaker, which occupa- 
tion he followed for some time after he was twenty-two years 
of age. It is recorded of him, however, that he early 
evinced an uncommon thirst for knowledge, and was wont, 
even while at work on his seat, to have a book open before 
him, upon which he would employ every moment, not ne- 
cessarily devoted to the duties of his calling. 

The father of Mr. Sherman died in the year 1741, leaving 
his family, which was quite numerous, in circumstances of 
dependence. The care of the family devolved upon Roger, 

ftOOBE 8HBBMAN. 160 

liifl older brother haring sometime before removed to New^ 
Milfordy in Connecticut This was a serious charge for a 
young man only nfheteen years of aget Yet, widi great 
kindness and cheerfulness did he engage in the duties which 
devolved upon him. Towards his mother, whose life was 
protracted to a great age, he continued to manifest the ten- 
derest afiection, and assisted two of his younger brothers to 
obtain a liberal education. These, afterwards, became clergy* 
men of some distinction in Connecticut. 

It has already been observed, that an older brother had 
established himself in New-Milford, Connecticut In 1743, 
it was judged expedient for the family, also, to remove to 
that place. Accordingly, having disposed of their small 
farm, they became residents of New-Milford, in June of that 
year. This journey was performed by young Roger on foot, 
with his tools on his back. 

At New-Milford, he commenced business as a shoemaker ; 
but not long after he rennquished his trade, having entered 
into partnership with his older brother, in the more agree- 
able occupation of a country mext|hant 

Mr. Sherman early evinced, as nas already been observed, 
an unusual thirst for knowledge. This led him to seize with 
avidity every opportunity to acquire it. The acquisitions 
of such a mind, even with the disadvantages under which he 
laboured, must have been comparatively easy, and his im- 
provement was rapid. The variety and extent of his attain- 
ments, even at this early age, are almost incredible. He soon 
became known in the county of Litchfield, where he resided, 
as a man of more than ordinary talents, and of unusual skill 
in the science of mathematics. In 1745, only two years 
after his removal into the above county, and at the age of 
twenty-four, he was appointed to the office of county sur- 
veyor. At this time it appears, also, he had made no small 
advance in the science of astronomy. As early as 1748, he 
supplied the astronomical calculations for an almanac, pub- 
Ibhed in the city of New-York, and continued this supply 
fcr several succeeding years. 

In 1749, he was marriea to Miss Elizabeth HartweD, of 


<8tonghton, in Massacbusetts. After her decease, in 1760, he 
inanied Miss Rebecca Prescot, of DanTers, in the same s&te. 
Bj these wives he had fifteen children, ilbren by the former, 
and eig^t by the latter. 

In 1754, Mr. Sherman was admitted as an attorney to the 
bar. It is a trite remark, that great effects often proceed from 
small canses, and that not unfrequently some apparently 
triyial occurrence, exercises a controling influence over the 
whole after life of an individual. Both these remarks are 
eminently verified in the history of Mr. Sherman. While 
yet a young man, and, it is believed before he had relinquish- 
ed his mechanical occupation, he had occasion to go to a 
neighbouring town to transact some business for himself. A 
short time previous to this, a neighbour of his, in settling the 
affiiirs of a person deceased, became involved in a difficulty 
which required the assistance of legal counsel. The neigh* 
hour stated the case to young Sherman, and authorized him 
to seek the advice of the lawyer of the town to which be 
was going. 

As the subject was not .without intricacy, Sherman com- 
mitted the case to paper, and on his arrival in the town, pro- 
ceeded with his manuscript to the lawyer's office. In stating 
the case to the lawyer, he had frequent occasion to recur to 
his manuscript. This was noticed by the lawyer, and, as it 
was necessary to present a petition in the case to some court, 
Sherman was requested to leave the paper, as an assistance 
in framing the petition. The modesty of young Sherman 
would scarcely permit him to comply with this request 
** The paper," he said, ** was only a memorandum drawn by 
himself to assist his memory.*' He gave it, however, into 
the hands of the lawyer, who read it with surprise. He 
found it to contain a clear statement of the case, and remark- 
ed, that with some slight verbal alterations, it would be equal 
to any petition which he himself could draft 

The conversation now passed to the situation and circum- 
stances of young Sherman. The lawyer urged him seriously 
to think upon the profession of law. At this time, he was 
deeply involved in the care of his father's family, which, as 


before noticed, were left in a great measure destitute at his 
decease. The suggestion, however, appears not to have 
been lost upon him. A new direction was given to Ids 
thoughts. A stronger impulse was added to his energies. 
His leisure hours were devoted to the acquisition of legal 
knowledge, and in 1754, as already remarked, he entered 
upon a professional career, in which few have attained to 
greater honour and distinction. 

From this date, Mr. Sherman soon became distinguished 
as a judicious counsellor, and was rapidly promoted to offices 
of trust and responsibility. The year following his admis- 
sion to the bar, he was appointed a justice of the peace for 
New-Milford, which town he also represented the same year 
in the colonial assembly. In 1759, he was appointed judge 
of the court of common pleas for the county of Litchfield* 
an office which he filled with great reputation for tlie two 
following years. 

At the expiration of this time, that is in 1761, he became 
a resident of New-Haven, of which town he was soon after 
appointed a justice of the peace, and often represented it in. 
the colonial assembly. To these offices was added, in 1765, 
that of judge of the court of common pleas. About the 
same time he was appointed treasurer of Yale College, which 
institution bestowed upon him the honorary degree of Master 
of Arts. 

In 1766, he was elected by the freemen of the colony a 
member of the upper house, in the general assembly of Con- 
necticut The members of the upper house were called 
assistants. This body held their deliberations with closed 
doors. The precise rank, therefore, which Mr. Sherman 
held among his colleagues, or the services which he rendered 
his country, cannot now be ascertained. Few men, however, 
were better fitted for a deliberative assembly. During the 
same year, the confidence of his fellow-citizens was still far- 
ther expressed, by his appointment to the office of judge of 
the superior court. The offices, thus conferred upon him, 
during the same year, were not then considered as incompa- 
tible. He continued a member of the upper house for mne- 
X 14* 


teen yean, until 1785, at which time the two offices which 
he held hein^ considered as incompatible, he relinquished 
his seat at the council board, preferring his station as a judge. 
This latter office he continued to exercise until 1789, when 
he resigned it, on being elected to congress under the federal 

At an early stage of the controversy between Great Britain 
and her American colonies, Mr. Sherman warmly espoused 
the cause of his country. This was to be expected of hinu 
A man of so much integrity and consistency of character, of 
such firmness and solidity, would not be likely to be wanting 
in the day of trial. It was fortunate for America that she 
had some such men in her councils, to balance and keep in 
check the feverish spirits which, in their zeal, might have in- 
jured, rather than benefitted the cause. Mr. Sherman was 
no enthusiast, nor was he to be seduced from the path of duty 
by motives of worldly ambition, or love of applause. He 
early perceived, that the contest would have to be terminated 
by a resort to arms. Hence, he felt the paramount import- 
ance of union among the colonies. He felt the full force of 
the sentiment, '* United we stand, divided we fall." From 
the justice or clemency of Great Britain, he expected no- 
thing ; nor, at an early day, could he perceive any rational 
ground to hope that the contest could be settled, but by the 
entire separation of American and British interests. He was, 
therefore, prepared to proceed, not rashiy, but with delibe- 
rate firmness, and to resist, even unto blood, the unrighteous 
attempts of the British parliament to enthral and enslave the 
American colonies. 

Of the celebrated congress of 1774, Mr. Sherman was a 

conspicuous member. He was present at the opening of 

^ the session ; and continued uninterruptedly a member o^ that 

body for the long space of nineteen years, until his death 

in 1793. 

Of the important services which he rendered his countryi 
during his congressional career, it is difficult and even impos- 
sible to form an estimate. He served on various committee^, 
whose deliberations often involved the highest interest of the 

1L06XE SHERMAN. 163 

country. During the continuance of the war of the revolu- 
tion, the duties of committees were frequently arduous and 
fatiguing. No man adventured upon these duties with more 
courage ; no one exercised a more indefatigable zeal than did 
Mr. Shermap. He investigated every subject with uncom- 
mon particularity, and formed his judgment with a compre- 
hensive view of the whole. This, together with the well 
known integrity of his character, attracted universal confi- 
dence. He naturally became, therefore, one of the leading 
and most influential members of congress, during the whole 
period of his holding a seat in that body. 

Of the congress of 1775, Mr. Sherman was again a mem- 
Der ; but of this day of clouds and darkness, when the storm 
which had long lowered, began to burst forth on every side, 
we can take no further notice than to mention, with gratitude 
and admiration, the firmness of those assembled sages who, 
with courage, breasted themselves to the coming shock. 
They calmly and fearlessly applied themselves to the defence 
of the liberties of their country, having counted the cost, 
and being prepared to surrender their rights only with their 

In the congress of 1776, Mr. Sherman took a distinguished 
part. He assisted on committees appointed to give instruc 
tions for the military operations of the army in Canada ; to 
establish regulations and restrictions on the trade of the 
United States ; to regulate the currency of the country ; to 
fiirnish supplies for the army ; to provide for the expenses of 
the government ; to prepare articles of confederation between 
the several states, and to propose a plan of military opera- 
tions for the campaign of 1776. 

During this year, also, he received the most flattering tes- 
timony of the high estimation in which he was held by con- 
gress, in being associated with Adams, Jeflerson, Franklin, 
and Livingston, in the responsible duty of preparing the de- 
claration of independence. 

The reputation of Mr. Sherman abroad, was cordially re- 
ciprocated in the state in which he resided. Few men were 
ever more highly esteemed in Connecticut. The people un- 


deratood his worth. They respected him for his abilities^ 
but still more for his unbending integrity. During the war 
he belonged to the governor's council of safety ; and from the 
year 1784 to his death, he held the mayoralty of the city of 
NewoHaveA. In 1783, he was appointed, with the honoura* 
ble Richard Law, both of whom were at this time judges of 
the superior court, to revise the statutes of the state. This 
service, rendered doubly onerous to the committee from their 
being instructed to digest all the statutes relating to the same 
subject into one, and to reduce the whole to alphabetical or- 
der, was performed with great ability. Many useless statutes 
were omitted ; others were altered to correspond to the great 
changes which had then recently taken place in the state of 
the country, and the whole reduced to comparative ordei 
and simplicity. 

Another expression of the public confidence awaited Mr 
Sherman in 1787. Soon after the close of the war, the in 
efficacy of the old confederation between the states was ap 
parent. The necessity of a federal constitution, by which 
the powers of the state governments and of the general go 
vemment should be more nicely balanced, became every 
day more obvious. Accordingly, in 1787, a general conven 
tion of the states, for forming a new constitution, was called, 
and Mr. Sherman, in connexion with the learned Mr. Ells- 
worth and Dr. Johnson, were appointed to attend it, on the 
part of Connecticut. In this assemblage of patriots, distin- 
guished for their political wisdom, Mr. Sherman was con- 
spicuous, and contributed, in no small degree, to the perfec- 
tion of that constitution, under which the people of America 
have for more than forty years enjoyed as much civil liberty 
and political prosperity as is, probably, compatible with the 
lapsed condition of the human race. Many of the conven- 
tion, who warmly advocated the adoption of the constitution, 
were not, indeed, well pleased with every feature of that in- 
strument. To this number Mr. Sherman belonged. He was 
of the opinion, however, as were others, that it was the best 
which, under existing circumstances, the convention could 
liave framed. On his return to Connecticut, when the ques- 


lion respecting the adoption of the constitution came before 
tae convention of that state, its adoption, according to the 
testimony of the late* Chief Justice Ellsworth, was, in no 
small degree, owing to the influence of Mr. Sherman. On 
that occasion, he appeared before the convention, and, with 
great plainness and perspicuity, entered into an explanation 
of the probable operation of the principles of the constitution. 

Under this new constitution, he was elected a representa- 
tive to congress, from the state of Connecticut. At the ex- 
piration of two years, a vacancy occurring in the senate, he 
i¥as elevated to a seat in that body, an office which he con- 
tinued to hold, and the duties of which he continued to dis- 
charge with honour and reputation to himself, and with great 
usefulness to his country, until the 23d day of July, 1793, 
when he was gathered to his fathers, in the 73d year of his 

In estimating the character of Mr. Sherman, we must 
dwell a moment upon his practical wisdom This, in him, 
was a predominant trait. He possessed, more than most 
men, an intimate acquaintance with human nature. He un- 
derstood the springs of human action in a remarkable de- 
gree, and well knew in what manner to touch them, to pro- 
duce a designed effect. This practical wisdom, another name 
for common sense, powerfully contributed to guide him to 
safe results, on all the great political questions in which he 
was concerned ^ and assisted him to select the means which 
were best adapted to accomplish the best ends. With the 
habits and opinions, with the virtues and vices, the prejudices 
and weaknesses of his countrymen, he was also well ac- 
quainted. Hence, he understood, better thaa many others, 
who were superior to him in the rapidity of their genius, 
what laws and principles they would bear, and what they 
would not bear, in government. Of the practical wisdom of 
Mr. Sherman, we might furnish many honourable testimonies 
and numerous illustrations. We must content ourselves, 
nowever, with recording a remark of President Jefferson, to 
the late Dr. Spring, of Newburyport. During the sitting of 
Congress at Philadelphia, the latter gentleman, in company 


with Mr. Jeffenon, yisited the national halL Mr. Jefiersoo 
pointed out to the doctor several of the members, who were 
most conspicaous. At lengjhf his eye rested upon Roger 
Sherman. '^That," said he, pointing his finger, *'is Mr 
Sherman of Connecticut, a man who never said a foolish 
thing in his life^ Not less complimentary was the remark 
of Mr. Macon, the aged and distinguished senator, who has 
recently retired from public life : " Roger Sherman had more 
common sense than any man I ever knew." 

Another distinguishing trait in the character of Roger 
Sherman, was his unbending integrity. No man, probably, 
ever stood more aloof from the suspicion of a selfish bias, 
or of sinister motives. In both his public and private con* 
duct, he was actuated by principle. The opinion which ap- 
peared correct, he adopted, and the measure which appeared 
the best, he pursued, apparently uninfluenced by passion, pre- 
iudice, or interest It was probably owing to this trait in 
his character, that he enjoyed such extraordinary influence 
in those deliberative bodies of which he was a member. In 
his speech, he was slow and hesitating. j|Ie had few of the 
graces of oratory ; yet no man was heard with deeper atten- 
tion. This attention arose from the solid conviction of the 
hearers, that he was an honest man. What he said, was in- 
deed always applicable to the point, was clear, was weighty; 
and, as the late President Dwight remarked, was generally 
new and important. Yet the weight of his observations, 
obviously, sprung from the integrity of the man. It was this 
trait in his character, wliich elicited the observation of the 
distinguished Fisher Ames. **If I am absent," said he, *' dur^ 
ing the discussion of a subject, and consequently know not 
on which side to vote, I always look at Roger Shermon, for 
I am sure if I vote with him I shall vote righL" 

To the above excellent traits in the character* of Mr. Sher 
man, it may be added, that he was eminently a pious man. 
He was long a professor of religion, and one of its brightest 
ornaments. Nor was his religion that which appeared only 
on occasions. It was with him a principle and a habit. It 
appeared in tlie closet, in the faimily, on the bench, and in the 


senate hottae* Few men had a higher rererence for the 
bible ; few men studied it with deeper attention ; few were 
more intimately acquainted with the doctrines of the gospel, 
and the metaphysical controversies of the day. On these 
subjects^ he maintained an extended correspondence with 
some of the most distinguished divines of that period, among 
whom were Dr. Edwards, Dr. Hopkins, Dr. Trumbull, Preai* 
dent Dickenson, and President Witherspoon, all of whom 
had a high opinion of him as a theologian, and derived much 
instruction from their correspondence with him. 

If the character of a man's religion is to be tested by the 
fruits it produces, the religion of Mr. Sherman must be ad* 
mitted to have been not of this world. He was naturally 
possessed of strong passions ; but over these he at length 
obtained an extraordinary control. He became habitually 
calm, sedate, and self-possessed. The following instance of 
his self-possession is worthy of being recorded. 

Mr. Sherman was one of those men who are not ashamea 
to maintain the forms of religion in his family. One morn- 
ing he called them together, a!s usual, to lead them in prayer 
to God : the *' old family bible" was brought out, and laid on 
the table. Mr. Sherman took his «eat, and beside him placea 
one of his children, a small child, a child of his old age ; the 
rest of the family were seatec^ round the room ; several of 
these were now grown up. Besides these, some of the tutors 
of the college, and it is believe^* some of the students, were 
boarders in the family, and were present at the time alluded 
to. His aged, and now superanuated mother, occupied a 
corner of the room, opposite to the place where the distin- 
guished judge of Connecticut sat. At length* he opened the 
Uble, and began to read. The child which was seated beside 
him, made some little disturbance, upon which Mr. German 
^ paused, and told it to be still. Again he proceeded, but again 
he paused, to reprimand the little offender, whose playful 
disposition would scarcely permit it to be still. At this time, 
he' gently tapped its ear. The blow, if it might be called a 
blow, caught the attention of his aged mother, who now with 
some effort rose from her seat, and tottered across the room. 


At lengthy she reached the chair of Mr. Sherman, and in a 
moment most miexpected to him, she gave him a hlow on 
the ear» with all the power she could summon. ** 3%ere," said 
the, ** you strike your chUdy and I ^wUl strike mtnc.'* 

For a moment, the blood was seen rushing to the face of 
Mr. Sherman ; but it was only for a moment, when aU ^vraa 
as mild and calm as usuaL He paused — ^he raised his specta- 
cles — ^he cast his eye upon his mother — again it fell upon the 
book, from which he had been reading. Perhaps he re* 
inembered the injunction, *' h(Hiour thy mother," and he did 
honour her. Not a word escaped him ; but again he calmly 
pursued the- service, and soon after sought in prayer ability to 
set an example before his household, which should be worthy 
their imitation. Such self-possession is rare. Such a victory 
was worth more than the proudest victory ever achieved in 
the field of battle. 

We have room only to add the inscription, which is record- 
ed upon the tablet which covers the tomb of this truly excel- 
lent man : 



Mayor of Uie city of New-Haven, 

and Senator of the United Staies. 

fle waa bom at Newton, in Maaaachnaetti^ 

April 19th, 1721, 

And died in New-Haven, July 23d, A, D. 1793; 

aged LXXn. 

Poat eifl cd of a strong*, clear, penetrating' mind, 

and aingnlar perseverance, 

he became the self-taught scholar, 

eminent for jurisprudence and policy. 

He was nineteen years an assistant, 

and twenty4hree years a judge of the aoperior ooiort, 

in high repotaiion. 

He waa a Delegate in the first Congreas^ 

signed the glorious act of Independence^ 

sad many years displayed superior talenta and abfllfy 

in the national legislature. 

He was a member of the general c(»iventioiy 

approved the federal constitution. 

And served his country with fidelity and honoinc 

in the House of RepresentativeiEs 

•nd i&thr Saute (^ tlie United SUiet. 

He 'was a man of tLpprored integ^ty i 

a cool, discerning Judge ; 

a prudent, sagacious Politician; 

a tnie^ fiuthfal, and firm Patriot. 

He ever adorned 

the profession of Christianity 

which he made in youth ; 

and distinguished through liie 

for public usefulnen, 

died In the prospect of a blessed immortality. 



Saxxjbl Hvntikgton was born in Windham, Connectieut, 
on the 2d day of July, 1732. His ancestors were respect- 
able ; they came to America at an early period of the country, 
and settled in Connecticut. 

The father of the subject of the present memoir wat 
Nathaniel Huntington, who resided in the town of Windham, 
where he was a plain but worthy farmer. His mother was 
distin^piished for her many virtues. She was a pious, dis- 
creet woman, and endued with a more than ordinary share 
of mental vigour. A numerous family of children cemented 
the affection of this worthy pair. Several of the sons devoted 
themselves to the gospel ministry, and attained to a highly 
respectable standing in their profession. Of those who thus 
devoted themselves to the clerical profession, Dr. Joseph 
Huntington was one. He is well known as the author of • 
posthumous work, on universal salvation. It was entitled, 
** Calvinism Improved, or the Gospel illustrated as a system 
of real Grace, issuing in the salvation of all men." This 
work was afterwards ably answered by Dr. Nathan Strong* 
of Hartford. 

In the benefits of a public education, which were thus con 

y 16 

IW comscncvT ^EUWArmr. 

ferred on sereral ef his brotiiersy Saimiel Runliiigtoii did nol 
share. He was &e eldest sod, and his ftiher needed his as- 
sistance on the farm. Indeed, his opportunities for obtaining 
knowledge were extremely limited, not extending beyond 
those famished by the common schools of that day. 

Mr. Huntington, however, possessed a rigorous under- 
standing, and, when released from the toils of the field, he 
devoted himself with great assidmty to reading and study. 
Thus, the deficiencies of the common school were more thai* 
supplied. He became possessed of an extensive fund of in 
formation upon various subjects, and by the time he was 
twenty-one years of age, he probably fell little short in hb 
acquisitions of those who had received a collegiate educa- 
tion, except in some particular branches. Hb knowledge 
was less scientific, but more practical and useful. 

Although not averse to husbandry, he early manifested a 
fondness for legal pursuits, and at the age of twenty-two he 
i^linqnished the labours of the field, for the more agreeable 
study of the law. Pecuniary circumstances prevented bis 
availing himself of legal tuition in the office of a lawyer. 
But he was contented to explore the labyrinths of the pro- 
fession unaided, except by his own judgment The library 
of a respectable lawyer in a neighbouring town, furnished 
him with the necessary books, and his diligence and perse- 
verance accomi^shed the rest. 

Mr. Huntington soon obtained a competent knowledge of 
the principles of law, to commence the practice of the pro- 
fession. He opened an office in his native town, but in 1760, 
removed to Norwich, where a wider field presented itsdf, 
for the exercise of his talents. Here, he soon became emi- 
nent in his profession. He was distinguished by a strict 
integrity, and no man exceeded him in punctuality. These 
traits of diaracter, united to no ordinary legal attainments, 
and strong common sense, insured him the respect of ike 
community, and a large share of professional business. 
• In 1764, Mr. Huntington represented the town of Nov 
wich in the general assembly. This was the commencemenl 
of his poMtieal career. In the year following he W)a» ap» 

BlUiirBL HimTINQTOlf* i7| 

potnted to the office of king** attorney, Ike duties of wMch 
be continued to dischargei widi great fiddity, for several 
years. In 1774, he became an associate judge in the supe- 
lior court, and soon after an assistant in the council of Con- 

Mr. Huntington was among those who eariy and strongly 
set themselves in opposition to the claims and oppressions ai 
the British parliamenl. In his opinions on national sobjects, 
he was eminently independent; nor was he backward in 
expressing those opinions, on every suitable occasion.. His 
talents and patriotism recommended him to public &your, and 
in October, 1775, he was appointed by the general assembly of 
Connecticut to represent that colony in the continental con- 
gress. In the January following, in conjunction with his dis- 
tinguished colleagues, Roger Sherman, Oliver Wolcott, 6lc* 
he took his seat in that venerable body. In the subsequent 
July he voted in favour of the declaration of independence. 

Of the continental congress, Mr. Huntington continued a 
inember until the year 1781, when the ill state of his health 
required the relinquishment of the arduous services in which 
he had been engaged for several years. These services had 
been rendered still more onerous by an appointment, in 1779, 
to the presidency of the congress, in which station hie suc- 
ceeded Mr. Jay, on the appointment of the latter as minister 
plenipotentiary to the court of Madrid. The honourable sta- 
tion of president, Mr. Huntington filled with great dignity 
and distinguished ability. ** In testimony of their approba^ 
lion of his conduct in the chair, and in the execution of public 
business,'' congress, soon after his retirement, accorded to 
him the expresnon of their public thanks. 

Thus relieved from the toils which his high official station 
In congress had imposed upon him, Mr. Huntington was soon 
able to resume his judicial functions in the superior court of 
€k>nnecticttt, and his duties as an assistant in the council of 
that state, both of which offices had been kept vacant during 
his absence. 

The public, however, were unwilling long to dispense with 
kis services in the great national assembly. Accordingly, in 

ITS comncncvr delboation. 

178% he was re-«Iected a delegate to congress ; bat eithet 
feeble healthy or his duties as a judge, prevented his attend' 
anee for that jear. He was re-appointed the following yeax 
to the same office, and in July resumed his seat in congress, 
where he continued a conspicuous and influential member, 
until Norember, when he finally retired from the national 

Soon after his return to his natire state, he was placed at 
the head of the superior court, and the following year, 178&, 
was elected lieutenant governor of the state. The next year 
he succeeded Governor Griswold in the office of chief magis- 
trate of the state, and to this office he was annually re-elected 
during the remainder of his life. 

The death of this excellent and distinguished man occurred 
on the 5th of January, 1796, in the 64th year of his age. 
His departure from the world, as might be expected, from 
the even tenor of his life, and from the decided christian 
character and conversation which he had manifested, was 
tranquil. He had for many years been a professor of reli- 
gion, and a devoted attendant upon the ordinances of the 
gospel. His seat in the house of God was seldom vacant, 
and, when occasion required, he Was ready to lead in an ad- 
dress to the throne of grace, and was able to impart instruc 
tion to the people, drawn from the pure oracles of God. 

Such, in few words, was the religious character of Govemoi 
Huntington. His domestic character was not less excellent 
To strangers, he might appear formal. He possessed a dig- 
nity, and a natural reserve, which repressed the advances of 
all, except his intimate friends ; but to these he was ever ac- 
cessible and pleasant Few. men ever possessed a greatei 
share of mildness and equanimity of temper. Sentiments of, 
anger seem to have found no place in his breast ; nor was he 
scarcely ever known to utter a word which could wound the 
feelings of another, or asperse the good name of an absent 

To show and parade, Mr. Huntington was singularly 
averse. In early life he had acquired rigid habits of econo- 
my, which appear to have continued during his life. Hence, 


in hk domestic arrangemento, in his diet, in liis dress, tm 
simplicity was such as to bring upon him the charge of par- 
simony. The justice or injustice of this charge, we hare not 
the means of determining ; but the prirate beneficence of 
Mr. Huntington is so amply attested to, that the charge of 
parsimony was probably brought against him only by the 
profuse. • 

Mr. Huntington was not connected in life until the 30th 
year of his age. At that time he married a daughter of Ebe- 
nezer Devotion, the worthy minister of the town of Wind- 
ham. Haying no children, Mr. Huntington adopted two of 
the children of his brother, the Reverend Joseph Huntington, 
one of whom afterwards became governor of Ohio ; and the 
o^er is at. present the wife of die Reverend Doctor GrifGn^ 
president of Williams' College, in Massachusetts. The death 
of Mrs. Huntington preceded that of her husband about two 

On the public character, or the public services of Grovemor 
Huntington, it is unnecessary to enlarge. It is pleasant, 
however, to mark the progress of such a man, from obscurity 
to the exalted and dignified walks of life, and from the bum* 
ble occupation of a plough boy, to the deep and learned in- 
vestigations of the judge, and to the wise and sagacious plans 
of the statesman. What was true of Mr. Huntington, in this 
respect, was true of a great proportion of that phalanx of pa- 
triots who, during the days of our revolutionary struggle, 
opposed themselves with success to British exactions and 
British oppressions. They came from humble life. They 
rose by the force of their native genius. (M>stacles served 
only to rouse their latent strength. They threw aside dis- 
conragements, as the skilful swimmer dashes aside the wa- 
ters which impede his course. 

Mr. Huntington was one of these men* He had not the 
advantage of family patronage, or the benefit of a liberal 
education ; nor did hereditary wealth lend him her aid. But, 
instead of these, he had genius, courage, and perseverance* 
With the united assistance of these, he entered upon his pro- 
fessional course, and afterwards, on his political career. He< 




rendered lerrices to bie country, which will long be remem* 
bered with gratitude ; he attained to honours with which a 
high ambition might bare been satisfied ; and, at length, went 
down to the grare, cheered with the prospect of a happy im- 


The family of William Williams is said to bare been 
originally from Wales. A branch of it came to America in 
the year 1630, and settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts. His 
grandfather, who bore the same name, was the minister of 
Hatfield, Massachusetts ; and his father, Solomon Williams, 
D.D. was the minister of a parish in Lebanon, where he was 
settled fifty-four years. Solomon Williams, the father, mar 
ried a daughter of Colonel Porter, of Hadley, by whom he 
had five sons and three daughters. The sons were all libe- 
rally educated. Of these, Eliphalet was settled, as a minister 
of the gospel, in East-Hartford, where he continued to offi- 
ciate for about half a century. Ezekiel was sheriff of tlio 
county of Hartford for more than thirty years; he died a 
few years since at Wethersfield, leaving behind him a cha- 
racter distinguished for energy and enterprise, liberality and 

William Williams, the subject of this memoir, war bom m 
Lebanon, Connecticut, on the eighth of Apri\ 173L At the 
age of sixteen, he entered Harvard college. During his col- 
legiate course, he was distinguished for a diligent attention, 
and, at the proper period, was honourably graduated. From 
the university he returned home, and, for a considerable time, 
devoted himself to theological studies, under the direction of 
his father. 

In September, 1755, was fought, at the head of Lake 
George, a celebrated battle between the prorincial troopsf 



under command of major general, afterwards Sir William 
Johnson, aided by a body of indians led by the celebrated 
Hendrick, and a body of French Canadians and indians, com- 
manded by Monsieur le Baron de Dieskau. At this time, Co* 
lonel Ephraim Williams commanded a regiment of provincial 
troops, raised by Massachusetts, with which he was engaged 
in the aboye battle. William Williams, the subject of our 
memoir, belonged to his staff. 

Colonel Williams was an officer of great merit. He was 
much beloved by his soldiers, and highly respected by the 
people of Massachusetts, in the place where he resided. 
Williams' college owes its existence to him. As he was pro- 
ceeding through Albany, to the head of Lake George, he 
made his will in that city. In this instrument, after giving 
certain legacies to his connexions, he directed that the remain- 
der of his land should be sold at the discretion of his execu- 
tors, within five years after an established peace, and that the 
interest of the monies arising from the sale, together with 
some other property, should be applied to the support of a 
free school, in some township in the western part of Massa- 
chusetts. This was the origin of Williams' college. Both 
the college, and the town in which it is situated, were named 
ai^r their distinguished benefactor. 

Previous to the battle of Lake George, Colonel Williams 
was despatched with a party of twelve hundred men, to ob- 
serve the motions of the French and Indian army, under Bl- 
ron Dieskau. He met the enemy at Rocky Brook, four miles 
from Lake George. A tremendous battle now ensued. The 
English soldiers fought with great courage, but at length 
they were overpowered, and obliged to retreat. During the 
contest, Colonel Williams was shot through the head by an 
Indian, and killed. The command of the detachment now 
devolved upon Colonel Whiting, of New-Haven, who succeed- 
ed in joining Sir William Johnson, with the force which had 
€0caped the power of the enemy. The issue of this day is 
weU known. The French army was finally repulsed, and the 
Baron Dieskau was both wounded and taken prisoner. 

Soon after the death of Colonel Williams, the subject of 

176 comracncirT vblboatmit. 

memoiry retamed to Lebanon, where he reaolred to fix 
his pemuinenk residence. In 17S6, at the age of twent^^five 
years* he was chosen clerk of the town of Lebanon, an oflice 
which he continued to hold for the space of forty-five years. 
About the same time, he was appointed to represent the town 
in the general assembly of Connecticut. In this latter capa- 
city, he served a long succession of years, during which be 
was often chosen clerk of the house, and not unfrequently 
filled, and always with dignity and reputation, the speaker's 
chair. In 1780, he was transferred to the upper house, being 
elected an assistant ; an office to which he was annually re- 
elected for twenty-four years. It was recorded of him, what 
can probably be recorded of few, and perhaps of no other man, 
that for more than ninety sessions, he was scarcely absent 
trom his seat in the legislature, excepting when, he was a 
member of the continental congress, in 1776 and 1777. 

During the years last mentioned, he was a member of the 
national council; and in the deliberations of that body ooa a 
part, during the memorable period, when the charter of our 
independence received the final approbation of congress. 

At an early period of the revolution, he embarked with 
great zeal in the cause of his country. During the campaign 
of 1755, while at the north, he had learned a lesson, which he 
did not forget He was at that time disgusted with the 
British commanders, on account of the haughtiness of their 
conduct, and the little attachment which they manifested for 
his native country. The impression was powerful and last- 
ing. At that time he adopted the opinion, that America would 
see no days of prosperity and peace, so long as British officers 
should manage her affairs. On the arrival of the day, there- 
fore, when the revolutionary struggle commenced, and a 
chance was presented of release from the British yoke, Mr. 
Williams was ready to engage with ardour, in bringing about 
thb happy state of things. He had for several years been in- 
terested in mercantile pursuits. These he now relinquished, 
tliat he might devote himself to th^ cause of his country. He 
powerfnHy contributed to awaken public feeling, by several 
essays on political subjects and when an occasion called him 


to speak in public, his patriotic zeal and independent spirit 
were manifested, in a powerful and impressive eloquence. 

Nor was Mr. Williams one of those patriots with whom 
words are all. He was ready to make sacrifices, whenever 
occasion required. An instance of his public spirit is recorded, 
in the early part of the revolution. At this time the paper 
money of the country was of so little value, that military ser- 
vices could not be procured for it. Mr. Williams, with great 
liberality, exchanged more than two thousand doUairs in 
specie, for this paper, for the benefit of his country. In th« 
issue, he lost the whole sum. 

A similar spirit of liberality marked his dealings, in the 
settlement of his affairs, on the eve and during the course ol 
the revolution. He was peculiarly kind to debtors impover- 
ished by the war ; and from the widow and the fatherlessi 
made so by the struggle for freedom, he seldom made any 
exactions, even though he himself suffered by his kindness. 

At the commencement of the war, it is well known, there 
was little provision made for the support of an army. There 
were no public stores, no arsenals filled with warlike instru- 
ments, and no clothing prepared for the soldiers. For many 
articles of the first necessity, resort was had to private contri- 
butions. The selectmen in many of the towns of Connecti- 
cut volunteered their services, to obtain articles for the neces- 
sary outfit of new recruits, for the maintenance of the families 
of indigent soldiers, and to furnish supplies even for the 
army itself. 

Mr. Williams was, at this time, one of the selectmen of the 
town of Lebanon, an office which he continued to hold 
during the whole revolutionary war. No man was better 
fitted for such a station, and none could have manifested more 
unwearied zeal than he did, in soliciting the benefactions 
of private families for the above objects. Such was his suc- 
cess, that he forwarded to the army more than one thousand 
blankets. In many instances, families parted with their last 
blanket, for the use of the soldiers in the camp ; and bullets 
were made from the lead taken from the weights of clocks. 
Such was the patriotism of the fathers and mothers of the 



land, IB those imys of triri. There were no comforts, 
they eonld not cheeifuUy forego, and no sacrifices which 
Ihey did not jojfally make, that the blessings of freedom 
night be theirs, and mi^t descend to their posterity. 

In confirmation of the above evidence of the firmnesa and 
patriotism of Mr. Williams, the following anecdote may be 
added. Towards the close oi the year 1776, the military 
affidrs of the colonies wore a gloomy aspect and strong 
fears began to prerail that the contest would go against 
them. In this dubious state of things, the council of safety 
for Connecticut was called to sit at Lebanon. Two of the 
members of this council, William Hillhouse and Benjamin 
Huntington, quartered with Mr. Williams. 

One evening, the conversation turned upon the gloomy 
state of the country, and the probability that, after all, success 
would crown the British arms. '* Well," said Mr. Williams, 
with great calmness, ''if they succeed, it is pretty evident 
what will be my fate. I have done much to prosecute the 
contest, and one thing I have done, which the British will 
never pardon — ^I have signed the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence. I shall he hung^ Mr. Hillhouse expressed his 
hope, that America would yet be successful, and Ifts confi- 
dence that this would be her happy fortune. Mr. Hunting- 
ton observed, that in case of ill success, he should be exempt 
from the gallows, as his signature was not attached to the 
declaration of independence, nor had he written any thing 
against the British government. To this Mr. Williams re- 
plied, his eye kindling as he spoke, " Then, sir, you deserve 
to be hanged, for not having done your duty." 

At the age of 41, he became settled in domestic life, having 
connected himself with the daughter of Jonathan Trumbull, 
at that time governor of the state. His lady, it is believed, 
is still living. Three children were the offspring of this 
marriage. Of these children, Solomon, the eldest, died in 
New-York, in 1810, a man greatly beloved by all who had the 
pleasure to know him. The only daughter is respectably 
connected in Woodstock, and tl.e remaining son resides in 


The demise of his eldest son was a great affliction to th« 
aged and infirm father. The intelligence produced a shock 
from which he never recovered. From this time, he gradu- 
ally declined. Four days before his death, he lost the power 
of utterance, nor was it expected that he would again speak 
on this side the grare. A short time, however, previously to 
his death, he called aloud for his deceased son, and requested 
him to attend his dying parent. In a few moments he closed 
his life. This event occurred on the 2d day of August, 1811, 
in the 81st year of his age. 

To this biographical sketch of Mr. Williams, we have 
only to add a word, respecting his character as a Christian. 
He made a profession of religion at an early age, and through 
the long course of his life, he was distinguished for a humble 
and consistent conduct and conversation. While yet almost 
a youth, he was elected to the office of deacon, in the congre- 
gational church to which he belonged, an office which he re- 
tained during the remainder of his life. His latter days were 
chiefly devoted to reading, meditation, and prayer. At length 
the hour arrived, when God would take him to himself. He 
gave up the ghost, in a good old age, and was gathered to 
his fathers. 


Pvw families have been more distinguished in the annals 
of Connecticut, than the Wolcott family. The ancestor of 
this family was Henry Wolcott, an English gentleman of 
considerable fortune, who was born in the year 1678. Dur 
^g the progress of the Independents in England, he em- 
braced the principles of that sect, and hence becoming ob- 
noxious to the British government, he found it expedient to 
^inigrate to America. His emigration, with his family, took 


pUc« ia 1630. They settled for a time at Dorchester, in 

Mr. "Wolcott is represented to have been a man of talent* 
and enterprise. Possessing an ample fortune, he associated 
himself with John Mason, Roger Ludlow, Mr. Stoughton, and 
Mr. Newbeny, who were also men of wealth, in the settle- 
ment of Windsor, in Connecticut. About the same time, as 
is well known, settlements were made at Hartford and 

In 1639, the first general assembly of Ck>nnecticut was 
holden at Hartford. It was composed of delegates from the 
above towns. Among these delegates was Henry Wolcott. 
Since that date, down to the present time, some of the mem* 
bers of this distinguished family hare been concerned in the 
civil government of the state. 

Simon Wolcott was the youngest son of Henry Wolcott. 
Roger Wolcott, who is distinguished both in the civil and 
military annals of the state, was the youngest son of Simon 
Wolcott Oliver Wolcott, the subject of the present me- 
moir, was the youngest son of Roger Wolcott He was 
bom in the year 1726, and graduated at Yale Ck>llege in 1747. 
In this latter year he received a commission as captain in 
the army, in the French war. At the head of a company, 
which was raised by his own exertions, he proceeded to the 
defence of the northern frontiers, where he continued until 
the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. 

At this time he returned to Connecticut, and commenced 
the study of medicine. He, however, never entered into the 
practice of the profession, in consequence of receiving the 
appointment of sheriff of the county of Litchfield, which 
was organized about the year 1751. 

In 1774 he was appointed an assistant in the council of the 
state. This may be considered as the commencement of his 
political career. To the office of assistant, he continued to 
be annually re-elected till 1786. In the interval, he was for 
some time chief judge of the court of common pleas for the 
county, and judge of the court of probate for the district of 


In the revolutionary contest, Mr. Wolcott was one of the 
strong pillars of the American cause. He inherited much of 
the independent feeling of the ancestor of the family, of 
whom we have spoken in the commencement of this me- 
moir. In 1776, he was summoned by his natire state to re- 
present it in the national congress in Philadelphia. He had 
the honour of participating in the deliberations of that body, 
on the declaration of independence, and of recording his 
vote in favour of its adoption. 

Immediately after the adoption of that instrument, he re- 
turned to Connecticut, and was now invested with the com*- 
mand of fourteen regiments of the state militia, which were 
raised for the defence of New- York. In November, he re- 
sumed his seat in congress, and on the adjournment of that 
body to Baltimore, he accompanied them, and there spent 
the winter of 1777. In the ensuing summer, he was engaged 
in several military movements ; after which, he joined the 
northern army, under General <}ates, with a corps of several 
hundred volunteers, and assisted in the memorable defeat of 
the British army under General Burgoyne. From this period, 
until 1786, he was either in attendance upon congress, in the 
field in defence of his country, or, as a commissioner of Indian 
afiairs for the northern department, he was assisting in 
settling the terms of peace with the six nations. In 1766 he 
was elected lieutenant governor, an office to which he was 
annually elected for ten years, when he was raised to the 
chief magistracy of the state. This latter office, however, 
he enjoyed but a little time, death putting an end to his active 
and laborious life, on the first of December, 1797, in the 72d 
year of his age. 

The life of Mr. Wolcott was extended beyond the common 
<^g6 of man, but it was well filled with honourable services 
for his country. He merited and received the confidence of 
his fellow citizens. In his person, he was tall, and had the 
appearance of great muscular strength. His manners were 
dignified. He had great resolution of character, and might 
^ said to be tenacious of his own opinions; yet he could 
*^inrender them, in view of evidence, and was ready to alter 




a course which he had proscribed fi»r himselff when duty and 
propriety seemed to require it 

In 1755, he was married to a Miss Collins, of Guilford, 
with whom he enjoyed great domestic felicity, for the space 
of forty years. Few women were better qualified for the 
discharge of domestic duties, than was Mrs. Wolcott During 
the long absence of her husband, she superintended the edu- 
cation of her children, and by her prudence and frugality ad- 
ministered to the necessities of her family, and rendered her 
house the seat of comfort and hospitality. 

Mr. Wolcott nerer pursued any of the learnt professions, 
yet his reading was various and extensive. He cultivated an 
acquaintance with the sciences, through the works of some 
of the most learned men of Europe, and was intimately ac- 
quainted with history, both ancient and modern. He has 
the reputation, and it is believed justly, of having been an 
accon^lished scholar. 

Mr. Wolcott was also distinguished for his love of order 
and religion. In his last sickness he expressed, according to 
Dr. Backus, who preached his funeral sermon, a deep sense 
of his personal unworthiness and guilt. For several days 
before his departure, every breath seemed to bring with it a 
prayer. At length, he fell asleep. He was an old man, and 
full of years, and went to his grave distinguished for a long 
series of services rendered both to his state and nation. The 
memory of his personal worth, of his patriotism, liis in- 
tegrity, his christian walk and conversation, will go down to 
generations yet unborn. 


William Floyd, 
Philip Livingston, 
Francis Lewis, 
Lewis Morris, 
Henrt Misner.* 


William Vhom^ who was the first delegate from New- 
York that signed the Declaration of Independence, was horn 
on Long Island, on the 17th of December, 1734. His fether 
was NieoU Floyd, an opulent and respectable landholder, 
whose ancestors came to America from Wales, about tho 
year 1680, and settled on Long Islana. The father of Wil- 
liam died while his son was young, and left him heir to a 
large estate. 

The early education of young Floyd, by no means corres- 
ponded to the wealth and ability of his father. His studies 
were limited to a few of the useful branches of knowledge, 
and these were left unfinished, in consequence of the death 
of that gentleman. The native powers of Floyd were, how- 
ever, respectable, and his house being the resort of an exten 

* This gentleman wu proBeni ^en coxtgreea expressed their approbation 
of the Declaration of Independence, and voted in favour of it. But, before 
the engrossed copy was signed by *Jtie several members, Mr. Misner left 
ttoi^reBS, and thus fiiiled of afibdng his name to this memwable instrument 



rive cirele of connexioDs and acquaintance, which included 
many intelligent and dintinaiughed families, his mind, by the 
intercourse which he thus enjoyed with those who were en- 
lightened and improred, became stored with rich and varied 
knowledge* His wealth enabled him to practice a generous 
hospitality, and few enjoyed the society of friends with mora 
pleasure. , 

At an early period in the controversy between Great Bri- 
tain and the colonies, the feelings of Mr. Floyd were strongly 
enlisted in the cause of the latter. He was a friend to the 
people ; and, with zeal and ardour, entered into every mea- 
sure which seemed calculated to ensure to them their just 
rights. These sentiments on his part excited a reciprocal 
confidence on the part of the people, and led to his appoint- 
ment as a delegate from New- York to the first continental 
congress, which met in Philadelphia on the fifth of Septem- 
ber, 1774. In the measures adopted by that body, so justly 
eulogized by the advocates of freedom, from that day to the 
present, Mr. Floyd most heartily concurred. 

In the following year, he was again elected a delegate to 
congress, and continued a member of that body until after the 
Declaration of American Independence. On that occasion, 
he assisted in dissolving the political bonds which had united 
the colonies to the Britfeh government ; and in consequence 
of which, they had suffered numberless oppressions for years. 
Into other measures of congress, Mr. Floyd entered with 
^eal. He served on numerous important committees, and 
by his fidelity rendered essential service to the patriotic 

It was the lot of not a few, while thus devoted to the pub- 
lic good, to experience the destructive effects of the war 
upon their property, or the serious inconveniences arising 
from it in relation to their families. In both, these respects 
Mr. Floyd suffered severely. While at Philadelphia, attend- 
ing upon <!ongress, the American troops evacuated Long 
Island, which was taken possession of by the British army. 
On this latter event, the family of Mr. Floyd were obliged to 
flee for safety to Connecticut. His house was occupied by a 


company of horsemen, which made it the place of their ren- 
dezvous during the remainder of the war. Thus, for nearly 
seven years, Mr. Floyd and his family were refugees from 
their habitation, nor did he, during this long perod, derive 
any benefit from his landed estate. 

In the year 1T77, General Floyd (we give him this military 
appellation, from the circumstance of his having some time 
before been appointed to the command of the militia on 
Long Island) was appointed a senator of the state of New- 
fork, under the new constitution. In this body, he assisted 
to organize the government, and to accommodate the code 
of laws to the changes which had recently been effected in 
the political condition of the state. 

In October, 1778, he was again elected to represent the 
state of New- York in the continental congress. From this 
time, until the expiration of the first congress, under the 
federal constitution. General Floyd was either a member of 
the national assembly, or a member of the senate of New- 
York. In this latter body, he maintained a distinguished 
rank, and was often called to preside over its deliberations, 
when the lieutenant governc^r left the chair. 

In 1784, he purchased an uninhabited tract of land upon 
the Mohawk River To the clearin|[ and subduing of this 
tract, he devoted the leisure of several successive summers. 
Under his skilful management, and persevering labours, a 
considerable portion of the tract was converted into a well 
cultivated farm ; and hither, in 1803, he removed his resi- 
dence. Although, at this time, he was advanced in life, bis 
bodily strength and activity were much greater than often 
pertain to inen of fewer years. He enjoyed unusual health, 
until a year or two before his death. The faculties of his 
mind continued unimpaired to the last. A little previous to 
nis death, he appeared to be affected with a general debility, 
which continuing to increase, the lamp of life wn at length 
extinguished. This event occurred on the 4th of August* 
1821, ana when he had attained to the extraordinary age of 
eighty-seven years. 

In his person. General Floyd was of a middle stature. He 
2 A 16* 


possesaed a natural dignitj, which seldom failed to impress 
those into whose company he was thrown. He appeared to 
enjoy the pleasures of private life, yet in his manners he was 
less familiar, and in his disposition less afiable, than most 
men. Few men, however, were more respected. He was 
eminently a practical man. The projects to which he gaye 
his sanction, or which he attempted, were those which judg- 
ment could approve. When his purposes were once formed, 
he seldom found reason to alter them. His firmness and re- 
solution were not often equalled. 

In his political character, there was much to admire. He 
was uniform and independent He manifested great candour 
and sincerity towards those from whom he happened to dif- 
fer ; and such was his well known integrity, that his motives 
were rarely, if ever, impeached. He seldom took part in the 
public discussion of a subject, nor was he dependent upon 
others for the opinions which he adopted. His views were 
his own, and his opinions the result of reason and reflection. 
If the public estimation of a man be a just criterion by which 
to judge of him. General Floyd was excelled by few of his 
contemporaries, since, for more than fifty years he was ho- 
noured with offices of trust and responsibility by his fellow 


Philip Livingston \^as born at Albany, on the fifteenth 
of January, 1716. His ancestors were highly respectable, and 
for several generations the family have held a distinguished 
rank in New- York. His great grandfather, John Livingston, 
was a divine of some celebrity in the church of Scotland, 
from which country he removed to Rotterdam in the year 
1663. In 1772, or about that time, his son Robert emigrated 
to America, and settled in the colony of New- York. He was 



fertnnate in obtaining a grant of a tract of land in that colo- 
ny, delightfully situated on the banks of the Hudsom This 
tract, since known as the Manor of Livingston, has been in 
possession of the family from that time to the present* 

Robert Livingston had three sons, Philip, Robert, and 
Gilbert. The first named of these, being the eldest, inherit- 
ed the manor. The fourth son of this latter is the subject of 
the present memoir. 

The settlement of New- York, it is well known, was com- 
menced by the Dutch. For many years scarcely any atten- 
tion was paid by them to the subject of education. They 
had few schools, few academies, and, until the year 1754, no 
college in the territory. Such gentlemen as gave their sons 
a libe*'al education, sent them either to New-England, or to 
some foreign university. But the number of liberally edu- 
cated men was extremely small. As late as 1746, their num- 
ber did not exceed fifteen in the whole colony. The subject 
of this memoir, and his three brothers, were included in the 
number. The author is ignorant where the brothers of Mr. 
Livingston received their education, but he was himself gra- 
duated at Yale College, 1737. 

Soon after leaving college he settled in the city of New- 
York, where he became extensively engaged in commercial 
operations. Mercantile life was, at this time, the fashionable 
pursuit. Mr. Livingston followed it with great ardour ; and, 
having the advantage of an excellent education, and being 
distinguished for a more than ordinary share of integrity and 
sagacity, he was prosperous in an eminent degree. 

In 1754, he was elected an alderman in the city of New- 
York. This was hir first appearance in public life. The 
office was importaait ' and respectable. The population of 
the city was ten thousand eight hundred and eighty-one 
souls. Mr. Livingston continued to be elected to this office 
for nine successive years, by his fellow citizens, to whom he 
gave great satisfaction, by his faithful attention to their in- 

In 1759, Mr. Livingston was returned a member from the 
city of New-York to the general assembly of the colony, 


which was convened on the thirty-first of January of thct 
year. This body consisted of twenty-seven members, repre- 
senting a population of about one hundred thousand inhabit- 
ants, the number which the colony at that time contained. 

At this period, Great Britain was engaged in a war with 
France. A plan had been formed for the reduction of Cana- 
da by the United Colonies. For this object, it was proposed 
to raise twenty thousand men. The quota of New- York was 
two thousand six hundred and eighty. This number the 
general assembly directed to be raised, and appropriated one 
hundred thousand pounds for the support of the troops, and 
ordered an advance of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds 
to the British commissariat, for the general objects of the 
expedition. Similar measures were adopted by the other 
colonies, which, together with the assistance of the mother 
country, led to the capture of several important posts in Ca- 
nada ; and, in the following year, to the subjugation of the 
whole territory to the British power. 

In this assembly, Mr. Livingston acted a distinguished 
part His talents and education gave him influence, which 
was powerfully exerted in promoting the above important 
measures. He also suggested several plans, which were cal- 
culated to improve the condition of the colony, particularly 
in relation to agriculture and commerce. He was deeply 
impressed with the importance of giving to the productions 
of the country a high character in the markets abroad, and 
of increasing the facilities of communication with other coun- 
tries. In respect to these and other subjects, he possessed a 
well informed mind, and was desirous of pursuing a most libe- 
ral policy. 

Previous to the revolution, it was usual for the respective 
colonies to have an agent in England, to manage their indi- 
vidual concerns with the British government. This agent 
was appointed by the popular branch of the colonial assem- 
Dlies. In 1T70, the agent of the colony of New-York dyingt 
the celebrated Edmund Burke was chosen in his stead. Be- 
tween this gentlefnan and a committee of the colonial as- 
sembly, a correspondence was maintained. As the agent. 


of the colony, he received a salary of fire hundred pounds. 
He represented the colonj in England, and advocated her 
rights. Hence the office was one of great importance. Not 
less important were the duties of the committee of correspon- 
dence. Upon their representations, the agent depended for 
a knowledge of the state of the colony. Of this committee 
Mr. Livingston was a member. From his communications* 
and those of his colleagues, Mr. Burke doubtless obtained 
that information of the state of the colonies, which he some- 
times brought forward, to the perfect surprise of the house 
of commons, and upon which he often founded arguments, 
and proposed measures, which were not to be resisted. 

The patriotic character and sentiments of Mr. Livingston, 
led him to regard, with great jealousy, the power of the Bri- 
tish government over the colonies. With other patriots, he 
was probably willing to submit to the authority of the mother 
country, while that authority was confined to such acts as rea 
son and justice approved. But, when the British ministers 
began to evince a disposition to oppress the colonies, by way 
of humbling them, no man manifested a stronger opposition 
than Mr. Livingston. His sentiments on this subject may be ' 
gathered from an answer, which he reported in 1764, to the 
speech of Lieutenant Governor Golden. In the extract we 
give, may be seen the very spirit of the revolution, which led 
to American independence. 

'* But nothing can add to the pleasure we receive from the 
information your honour gives us, that his majesty, our most 
gracious sovereign, distinguishes and approves our conduct 
When his service requires it, we shall ever be ready to exert our- 
selves with loyalty, fidelity, and zeal ; and as we have always 
complied, in the moit dutiful manner, with every requisi- 
tion made by his directions, we, with all humility, hope tha 
his majesty, who, and whose ancestors, have long been the 
guardians of British liberty, will so protect us in our rights, 
as to prevent our falling into the abject state of being forever 
hereafter incapable of doing what can merit either his distinc- 
tion or approbation. Such must be the deplorable state of 
Ihat wretched people, who (being taxed by a power subordi* 



mle to none, and in a great degree nnaequainted with thw 
eircnrnftancee) can call nothing their own. This we speak 
with the greatest deference to the wisdom and justice, of the 
British parliament, in which we confide. Depressed with this 
prospect of inevitable min, by the alarming information we 
have from home, neither we nor our constituents can attend 
to improvements, conducive either to the interests of our mo- 
ther country, or of this colony. We shall, however, renew 
the act for granting a bounty on hemp, still hoping that a stop 
may be put to those measures, which, if carried into execu- 
tion, will oblige us to think that nothing but extreme poverty 
can preserve us from the most insupportable bondage. We 
hope youp honour will join with us in an endeavour to secure 
that great badge of English liberty, of being taxed only with 
our own consent ; which we conceive all his majesty's sub- 
jects at home and abroad equally entitled to." 

The colony of New-York, it is well known, was, for a 
time, more under the influence of the British crown than se- 
veral others, and more slowly, as a colony, adopted measures 
which hastened forward the revolution. But all along, there 
were individuals in that colony, of kindred feelings with those 
who acted so conspicuous a part in Massachusetts and Yir • 

Among these individuals, none posisessed a more patriotic 
spirit, or was more ready to rise in opposition to British ag- 
gressions, than Philip Livingston. The sentiments which he 
had avowed, and the distinguished part which he had all along 
taken, in favour of the rights of the colonies, marked him out 
as a proper person to represent the colony in the important 
congress of 1T74. In the deliberations of this body he bore 
his proper share, and assisted in preparing an address to the 
people of Great Britain. 

Of the equally distinguished congress of 1776, Mr. Living- 
ston was a member, and had the honour of giving his vote in 
favour of that declaration, which, while it was destined to per* 
petuate the memory of the illustrious men who adopted it, 
was to prove the charter of our national existence. In the 
following year, he was re-elected to congress by the state 


convention, which, at this time, tendered to him and his col« 
leagues an expression of public thanks, for the long and faith* 
fttl services which they had rendered to the colony of the 
»tate of New-York. 

The constitution of the state of New-York was adopted at 
Kingston, on the twentieth of April, 1777. Under this 
constitution, Mr. Livingston, in May following, was chosen 
a senator for the southern district, and in that capacity at- 
tended the first meeting of the first legislature of the state ol 

In October of the same year, an election took place for 
members of congress, under the new constitution. Among 
the number chosen, Mr. Livingston was one. On the 5th 
of May, 1778, he took his seat in that body. This was an 
eminently critical and gloomy period in the history of the re- 
volution. The British had tcyjcen possession of Philadelphia, 
compelling congress to retire from that city. They had 
agreed to hold a session at York. 

At this time, the health of Mr. Livingston was exceedingly 
precarious. And such was the nature of his complaint, which 
was a dropsy in the chest, that no rational prospect existed 
of his recovery. Indeed, he was daily liable to be summoned 
from the active scenes of life to his final account. Yet, in 
this dubious and anxious state, his love to his country conti- 
nued strong and unwavering. For her good he had made 
many sacrifices ; and, now that her interests seemed to re- 
quire his presence in congress, he hesitated not to relinquish 
the comforts of home, and those attentions which, in his fee- 
ble and declining state, he peculiarly needed from a beloved 

Previous to his departure, he visited his friends in Albany, 
whom he now bid a final farewell, as he expected to see them 
no more. His family, at this time, were at Kingston, whi- 
ther they had been obliged to flee to escape the British army. 
To these, also, he bid an afiectionate adieu, at the same time 
expressing his conviction, that he should no more return. 

These sad anticipations proved too true. On the fiftli 
of May, he took his seat in congress, from which time his de- 


cline was rapid. On the twelfth of June, he ended his valu- 
able life. Although deprived of the consolations of home, 
he was attended, during the few last days of his illness, by 
his son, Henry, who was at that time a member of General 
Washington's family. Heanng of the illness of his father, 
he hastened to administer such comforts as might be in his 
power, and to perform the last duties to a dying parent. 

On the day of hb decease, his death was announced in the 
hall of congress, and by that body the following resolutions 
adopted : 

*' Congress being informed that Mr. P. Livingston, one of 
the delegates for the state of New-York, died last night* and 
that circumstances require that his corpse be interred this 

*' Resolved, that congress will in a body attend the funeral 
this evening, at six o'clock, with a crape round the arm, and 
will continue in mourning for the space of one month. 

'* Ordered, that Mr. Lewis, Mr. Duer, and Mr. G. Morris, 
be a committee to superintend the funeral; and that the Rev. 
Mr. Duffield, the attending chaplain, be notified to officiate on 
the occasion.** 

Mi. Livir^tnn married the daughter of Colonel DirckTen 
Broeck, by whom he had several children. His family has 
furnished several characters who have adorned society, and 
whose virtues have imparted dignity to human nature. Mr. 
Livingston is said to have been naturally silent and reserved, 
and, to strangers, to have appeared austere. Yet he was un- 
commonly mild and affectionate to his family and friends. 
He was a firm believer in the great truths of the Christiaa 
system, and a sincere and humble follower of the divine Re- 



Francis Lewis was a native of Landafl^ in South Wales« 
where he was born in the year 1713. His father was a 
clergyman, belonging to the established church. His mo- 
ther was the daughter of Dr. Pettingal, who was also a 
clergyman of the episcopal establishment, and had his resi- 
dence in North "Wales. At the early age of four or five years, 
being left an orphan, the care of him devolved upon a mater- 
nal maiden aunt, who took singular pains to have him in- 
structed in the native language of his country. He was 
afterwards sent to Scotland, where, in the family of a relation, 
he acquired a knowledge of the Gaelic. From this, he was 
transferred to the school of Westminster, where he completed 
his education ; and enjoyed the reputation of being a good 
classical scholar. 

Mercantile pursuits being his object, he entered the count- 
ing room of a London merchant ; where, in a few years, ha 
acquired a competent knowledge of the profession. On at- 
taining to the age of twenty-one years, he collected the property 
which had been left him by his father, and having converted it 
into merchandise, he sailed for New-York, where he arrived 
in the spring of 1735. 

Leaving a part of his goods to be sold in New-York, by 
Mr. Edward Annesly, with whom \^ had formed a commer- 
cial connexion, he transported the remainder to Philadelphia, 
whence, after a residence of two years, he returned to the 
former city, and there became extensively engaged in naviga- 
tion and foreign trade. About this time he connected him- 
self by marriage with the sister of his partner, by whom be 
had several children. 

Mr. Lewis acquired the character of an active and enter- 
prising merchant In the course of his commercial transac* 
tions, he traversed a considerable part of the continent of 
Europe. He visited several of the seaports of Russia, the 
Orkney and Shetland Islands, and twice suffered shipwreck 
of the Irish coast. 

28 17 


Dming the French or Canadian war, Mr. Lewis was, fat 
a time, agent for supplying the British troops. In this capa- 
city, he was present at the time, when, in August, 1756, the 
fort of Oswego was surrendered io the distinguished French 
general, de Montcalm. The fort was, at that time, command- 
ed by the British Colonel Mersey. On the tenth of August, 
Montcalm approached it with more than five thousand Europe- 
ans, Canadians, and Indians. On the twelfth, at midnight, 
he opened the trenches, with thirty-two pieces of cannon, be- 
sides several brass mortars and howitzers. The garrison 
having fired away all their shells and ammunition. Colonel 
Mersey ordered the cannon to be spiked, and crossed the riv^ 
to Little Oswego Fort, without the loss of a single man. Oi 
the deserted fort, the enemy took immediate possession, and 
from it began a fire, which was kept up without intermission. 
The next day. Colonel Mersey was killed while standing by 
the side of Mr. Lewis. 

The garrison, being thus deprived of their commander, 
their fort destitute of a cover, and no prospect of aid present- 
ing itself, demanded a capitulation, and surrendered as prison- 
ers of war. The garrison consisted at this time of the re- 
giments of Shirley and Fepperell, and amounted to one thou- 
sand and four hundred men. The conditions required, and 
acceded to, were, that they should be exempted from plunder, 
conducted to Montreal, and treated with humanity. The 
services rendered by Mr. Lewis, during the war, were 
held in such consideration by the British government, that 
at the close of it he received a grant of five thousand acres 
of land. 

The conditions, upon which the garrison at Fort Oswego 
surrendered to Montcalm, were shamefully violated by that 
commander. They were assured of kind treatment ; but no 
sooner had the surrender been made, than Montcalm allowed 
the chief warrior of the Indians, who assisted in taking the 
Ibrt, to select about thirty of the prisoners, and do with 
them as he pleased. Of this number Mr. Lewis was one. 
Placed thus at the disposal of savage power, a speedy and 
cruel death was to be expected. The tradition is, howevo* 


tbat he soon discorered that he was able to conrerse with 
the Indians, by reason of the similarity of the ancient Ian* 
guage of Wales, which he understood, to the indian dialect. 
The ability of Mr. Lewis, thus readily to communicate with 
the chief, so pleased the latter, that he treated him kindly ; 
and on arriving at Montreal, he requested the French go- 
vernor to allow him to return to his family, without ransom. 
The request, however, was not granted, and Mr. Lewis 
was sent as a prisoner to France, from which country, 
being some time after exchanged, he returned to America. 

This tradition as to the cause of the liberation of Mr. 
Lewis, is incorrect ; no such affinity existing between the 
Cymreag^ or ancient language of Wales, and the language of 
any of the indian tribes found in North America. The cause 
might have been, and probably was, some unusual occurrence, 
or adventure ; but of its precise nature we are not informed. 

Although Mr. Lewis was not born in America, his attach- 
ment to the country was coeval with his settlement in it. 
He early espoused the patriotic cause, against the encroach- 
ments of the British government, and was among the first to 
unite with an association, which existed in several parts ot 
the country, called the ** sons of liberty," the object of which 
was to concert measures against the exercise of an undue 
power on the part of the mother country. 

The independent and patriotic character which Mr. Lewis 
was known to possess, the uniform integrity of his life, the 
distinguished intellectual powers with which he was en- 
dued, all pointed him out as a proper person to assist in ta- 
king charge of the interest of the colony in the continental 
congress. Accordingly, in April, 1776» he was unanimously 
elected a delegate to that body. In this honourable station he 
was continued by the provincial congress of New-York, 
through the following year, 1776 ; and was among the num- 
ber who declared the colonies forever absolved from their 
allegiance to the British, crown, and from that time en- 
titled to the rank and privileges of free and independent 

la several subsequent years* he was appointed to represent 

Ii6 srxv-Tomx »siA«A,Txoir. 

tfie stele in the nrndond legislature* During his^eongressioiial 
eureer, Mr. Lewis was distinguished for a becoming zeal in 
the cause of liberty, tempered by the influence of a correct 
judgment and a cautious prudence. He was employed in 
several secret services ; in the purchase of provisions and 
clothing for the army ; and in the importation of military 
•tores, particularly arms and ammunition. In transactions 
of this kind, his commercial experience gave him great facili- 
ties. He was also employed on various committees, in 
which capacity, he rendered many valuable services to his 

In 1775, Mr. Lewis removed his family and effects to a 
country seat which he owned on Long Island. This proved 
to be an unfortunate step. In the autumn of the following 
year, his house was plundered by a party of British light 
horse. His extensive library and valuable' papers of every 
description were wantonly destroyed. Nor were they con- 
tented with this ruin of his property. They thirsted for re* 
venge upon a man, who had dared to affix his signature to a 
document, which proclaimed the independence of America, 
Unfortunately Mrs. Lewis fell into their power, and was re- 
tained a prisoner for several months. During her captivity, 
she was closely confined, without even the comfort of a bed 
to lie upon, or a change of clothes. 

In November, 1776, the attention of congress was called to 
her distressed condition, and shortly after a resolution was 
passed that a lady, who had been taken prisoner by the Ame- 
ricans, should be permitted to return to her husband, and 
that Mrs. Lewis be required in exchange. But the ex- 
change could not at that time be effected. Through the in- 
fluence of Washington, however, Mrs. Lewis was at length 
released ; but her sufferings during her confinement had so 
much impaired her constitution, that in the course of a year 
or two, she sunk into the grave. 

Of the subsequent life of Mr. Lewis, we have little to 
record. His latter days were spent in comparative poverty, 
his independent fortune having in a great measure been sac- 
rificed on the altar of patriotism, during his country's stmg- 


gle f<w independenee. The life of this exeenent man, and 
distinguished patriot, was extended to his ninetieth year. Hit 
death occurred on the 30th day of December, 1803. 


Lswis Morris was born at the manor of Morrisania, in 
Ae state of New York, in the year 1726. His family was of 
ancient date ; the pedigree of it has been preserved ; but it ia 
too extended to admit of a particular notice in these pages. 
Richard Morris, an ancestor of the family, beyond whom it i« 
unnecessary to trace its genealogy, was an officer of some dis- 
tinction in the time of Cromwell. At the restoration, how- 
ever, he led England, and came to New-York ; soon after 
which he obtained a grant of several thousand acres of land, 
in the county of West-Chester, not far from the city. This 
was erected into a manor, and invested with the privileges^ 
which usually pertain to manorial estates. 

Richard Morris died in* the year 1673, leaving an infant 
child by the name of Lewis, who afterwards held the office of 
chief justice of the province of New-York, and became go- 
vernor of New-Jersey. In both these offices he was much 
respected, and exercised an enviable influence in both these 
colonies. The sons of Lewis were not less eminent ; one 
being appointed a judge of the court of vice admiralty; ano- 
ther chief justice of New<Jersey ; and a third lieutenant go- 
vernor of the state of Pennsylvania. 

From one of these sons, Lewis Morris, the subject of the 
present memoir, was descended. He was the eldest of fomr 
brothers. Staats became an officer in the British service, and 
for tome time a member of parliament Richard and Gover- 
neor both settled in the state of New- York, and both became 
mm of considerable distinction ; the former as judge of the 



of the rice adaiimltjr eourt, and chief justiee of the stale, aod 
the latter aa a repreaentative in congress. 

The early education of Lewis was respectable. At the 
age of sixteen he was fitted for college, and was entered 
at Yale college, the honours of which he received in dne 
course, haying acquired the reputation of good scholarship, 
and a strict morality. Immediately on leaving college, he 
returned to his father's residence, where he devoted himself 
to the pursuits of agriculture. As he entered upon manhood* 
he seems to have possessed every thing which naturally com- 
mands the respect, and attracts the admiration of men. His 
person was of lofty stature, and of fine proportions, imparting 
to his presence an uncommon dignity, softened, however, by 
a disposition unusually generous and benevolent, and by a 
demeanor so graceful, that few could fail to do him homage. 

Although thus apparently fitted for the enjoyment of so 
ciety, Mr. Morris found his greatest pleasure in the endear- 
ments of domestic life, and in attention to his agricultural ope- 
rations. He was early married to a Miss Walton, a lady of 
fortune and accomplishments, by whom he had a large family 
of six sons and four daughters. 

The condition of Mr. Morris, at the time the troubles of 
the colonies began, was singularly felicitous. His fortune 
was ample ; his pursuits in life consonant to his taste ; his 
family and connexions eminently respectable, and eminently 
prosperous. No change was, therefore, likely to occur which 
would improve his condition, or add to the happiness which 
he enjoyed. On the contrary, every collision between the 
royal . government and the colonies, was lively to abridge, 
some of his privileges, and might even strip his fantily of all 
their domestic comforts, should 'he participate in the strugglei 
which was likely to ensue. , 

These considerations, no doubt, had their influence .at^ 
times upon the. mind o/Mr. Morris. He ppfsessed, however, 
too great a. share of.pfttriotism, to sufifer pifivateifor.|une. or^ 
individual happiness^ to come in competition vfij^ tl)f^,inter4^sts 
of his pountryt He could neither feel indifierent on a svrib^f^ci; 
of so much magnitude, nor could he pursue a course, of ^^1p^ 


'• He entered^ therefore, with zeal into d&e gtixwing cob« 
trorersy ; he hesitated not to pronounce the measures of the 
British ministry unconstitutional and tyrannical, and beyond 
peaceful endurance. As the political condition of the coun* 
try became more gloomy, and the prospect of a resort to arms 
increased, his patriotic feeling appeared to gather strength ; 
and although he was desirous that the controversy should be 
settled without bloodshed, yet he preferred the latter alterna 
tire, to the surrender of those rights which the God of nature 
had given to the American people. 

About this time, the celebrated congress of 1774 assembled 
ai New- York. Of this congress Mr. Morris was not a mem- 
ber* He possessed a spirit too bold and independent, to act 
with the prudence which the situation of the country seemed 
to require. The object of this congress was not war, but 
peace. That object, however, it is lyell known, failed, not 
withstanding that an universal desire pervaded the country, 
that a compromiBe might be ejected -between the colonies 
and the British government, and was made known to the lat- 
ter, by a dignified address, both to the king and to the people 
of Great Britain. 

In the spring of 1775, it was no longer doubtful that a re- 
sort must be had to arms. Indeed, the battle of Lexington 
had opened the war ; shortly after which the New»York con- 
vention of deputies were assembled to appoint delegates to 
the generid congress. Men of a zealous, bold, and indepen- . 
dent stamp, appeared now to be required. It was not singu- 
lar, therefore, that Mr. Morris should have been elected. 

On the 15th of May, he took his seat in that body, and 
eminently contributed, by his indefatigable zeal, to promote 
the interests of the country. He was placed on a committee 
of which Washington was the chairman, to devise ways and 
means to supply the colonies with ammunition and military 
stores, of which they were nearly destitute. The labours of 
this committee were exceedingly arduous. 

During this session of congress, Mr. Morris was appointed 
to the delicate and difficult task of detaching the western 
indiam fironi a coalition with the British government, and 


■ecurin^ their eo-operatiaii with the American colonies. 
Soon after his appointment to this duty, he repaired to Pitts 
burg* in which place, and the yicinity, he continued for some 
time sEealoosly engaged in accomplishing the object of his 
mission. In the beginning of the year 1T76, he r«>iumed his 
«ieat in congress, and was a member of several committees, 
which were appointed to purchase muskets and bayonets, 
and to encourage the manuftcture of salt-petre and gun- 

During the winter of 1775 and 1776, the subject of a De- 
claration of Independence began to occupy the thoughts of 
many in all parts of the country. Such a declaration seemed 
manifestly desirable to the leading patriots of the day, but 
an unwillingness prevailed extensively in the country, to 
destroy all connexion with Great Britain. In none of the 
colonies was this unwillingness more apparent than in New* 

The reason which has been assigned for this strong reluc- 
tance in that colony, was the peculiar intimacy which 'existed 
between the people of the city and the officers of the royal 
government. The military officers, in particular, had ren* 
dered themselves very acceptable to the citizens, by their 
urbanity ; and had even formed connexions with some of the 
most respectable families. 

This intercourse continued even after the commencement 
of hostilities, and occasioned the reluctance which existed in 
that colony to separate from the mother country. Even as 
late as the middle of March, 1776, Governor Try on, although 
he had been forced to retreat on board a British armed vessel 
in the harbour for safety, had great influence over the citi« 
zens, by means of artful and insinuating addresses, which. he 
caused to be published and spread through the city. The fol- 
lowing extract from one of these addresses, will convey to 
the reader some idea of the art employed by this minister of 
the crown, to prevent the people of that colony from mingling 
in the struggle. 

" It is in the clemency and authority of Great Britain only 
that we can look for happinesa» peace, and protection; and I 

hmve it in commaiul from the king, to eneonnge^ hj ewnj 
means in my power, the expectations in his majesty's well* 
disposed subjects in this government, of every assistance and 
protection the state of Great Britain will enable his majesty 
to afford them, and to crush every appearance of a disposi- 
tion, on their part, to withstand the tyranny and misrule, 
which accompany the acts of those who have but too well, 
hitherto, succeeded in the total subversion of legal govern- 
ment. Under such assurances, therefore, I exhort all the 
friends to good order, and our justly admired constitution, still 
to preserve that constancy of mind which is inherent in the 
breasts of virtuous and loyal citizens, and, I trust, a very few 
months will relieve them from their present oppressed, in- 
jured, and insulted condition. 

"I have the satisfaction to inform you, that a door is still 
open to such honest, but deluded people, as will avail them- 
selves of the justice and benevolence, which the supreme le- 
gislature has held out to them, of being restored to the king's 
grace and peace ; and that proper steps have been taken for 
passing a commission for that purpose, under the great seal 
of Great Britain, in conformity to a provision in a late act of 
parliament, the commissioners thereby to be appointed having, 
also, power to inquire into the state and condition of the colo- 
nies for effecting a restoration of the public tranquillity." 

To prevent an intercourse between the citizens and the 
fleet, so injurious to the patriotic cause, timely measures 
were adopted by the committee of safety ; but for a long 
time no efforts were availing, and even after General Wash- 
ington had established his head-quarters at New- York, he 
was obliged to issue his proclamation, interdicting all inter- 
course and correspondence with the ships of war and other 
vessels belonging to the king of Great Britain. 

But, notwithstanding this prevalent aversion to a separation 
from Great Britain, there were many in the colony who 
believed that a declaration of independence was not only a 
point of political expediency, but a matter of paramount 
daty. Of this latter class, Mr. Morris was one ; and, in 
givmg his vote for that declaration, he exhibited a patriotism 


and dinnterestedneM which few had it in their power to db 
play. He was at this time in possession of an extensive domain, 
within a few miles of the eity of New-York. A British 
army had already landed from their ships, which lay within 
cannon shot of the dwelling of his family. A signature to 
the Declaration of Independence would insure the devasta- 
tion of the former, and the destruction of the latter. But, 
upon the ruin of his individual property, he could look with 
comparative indifference, while he knew that his honour was 
untarnished, and the interests of his country were safe. He 
voted, therefore, for a separation from the mother country, in 
the spirit of a man of honour, and of enlarged benevolence. 

It happened as was anticipated. The hostile army soon 
spread desolation over the beautiful and fertile manor of Mor- 
risania. His tract of woodland of more than a thousand 
acres in extent, and, from its proximity to the city, of incal- 
culable value, was destroyed ; his house was greatly injured; 
his fences ruined ; his stock driven away ; and his family obliged 
to live in a state of exile. Few men during the revolution 
were called to make greater sacrifices than Mr. Morris ; none 
made them more cheerfully. It made some amends for his 
losses and sacrifices, that the colony of New-York, which 
had been backward in agreeing to a Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, unanimously concurred in that measure by her con- 
vention, when it was learned that congress had taken that 

It imparts pleasure to record, that the three eldest sons 
of Mr. Morris followed the noble example of their fiither, 
and gave their personal services to their country, during the 
revolutionary struggle. One served for a time ap aid-de-camp 
to General Sullivan, but afterwards entered the family of 
General Greene, and was with that officer during his brilliant 
campaign in the Carolinas ; the second son was appointed 
aid-de-camp to General Charles Lee, a^d was present at the 
gallant defence of Fort Moultrie, where he greatly distin- 
guished himself. The youngest of these sons, though but a 
youth, entered the army as a lieutenant of artillery, and 
honourably served during the war. 

LSWI8 XOBRIi. 203 

Mr. Morris left congpress in 1T77, at which time, he re- 
ceiredt together with his colleagues, the thanks of the pro- 
Tincial convention, '* for their long and faithful services ren- 
dered to the colony of New- York, and the said state/* 

In subsequent years, Mr. Morris served his state in various 
ways. He was often a member of the state legislature, and 
rose to the rank of major general of the militia. 

The latter years of Mr. Morris were passed at his favourite 
residence at Morrisania, where he devoted himself to the 
noiseless, but happy pursuit of agriculture ; a kind of life to 
which he was much attached, and which was an appropriate 
mode of closing a long life, devoted to the cause of his coun- 
try. He died on his paternal estate at Morrisania, in the 
bosom of his family, January, 1798, at the good old age of 
seventy-one years. 


Richard Stockton, 
John Withxrspoon, 
Francis Hopkin80n« 
John Hart, 
Abraham Clark. 


The first of the New-Jersey delegation, who signed the 
Declaration of Independence, was Richard Stockton. He 
was born near Princeton, on the 1st day of October, 1790. 
His family was ancient and respectable. His great grand- 
father, who bore the same name, came from England, about 
the year 1670, and after residing a few years on Long Island, 
removed with a number of associates to an extensive tract 
of land, of which the present village of Princeton is nearly 
the centre. This tract consisted of six thousand and four 
hundred acres. This gentleman died in the year 1705, leav- 
ing handsome legacies to his several children ; but the chief 
portion of his landed estate to his son, Richard. The death 
of Richard followed in 1720. He was succeeded in the 
family seat by his youngest son, John; a man distinguished 
for his moral and religious character, for his liberality to the 
college of New- Jersey, and for great fidelity in the discharge 
of the duties of public and private life. ' 

Richard Stockton, the subject of the present memoir, was 
the eldest son of the last mentioned gentleman. His early 


edncadon was highly respectable, being superintended by 
that accomplished scholar, Rev. Dr. Samuel Finley, in a ce- 
lebrated academy at West-Nottingham. His preliminary 
studies being finished, he entered the college of New-Jersey, 
whose honours he received in 1746. He was even at this 
time greatly distinguished for intellectual superiority ; giving 
promise of future eminence in any profession he might 

On leaving college, he commenced the study of law with 
the honourable David Ogden, of Newark, at that time at the 
head of the legal profession in the province. At length, Mr. 
Stockton was admitted to the bar, and soon rose, as had been 
anticipated, to great distinction, both as a counsellor and an 
advocate. He was an able reasoner, and equally distinguish- 
ed for an easy, and, at the same time, impressive eloquence. 

In 1766 and 1767, he relinquished his professional busi* 
ness, for the purpose of visiting England, Scotland, and Ire- 
land. During his tour through those countries, he was re- 
ceived with that attention to which he was eminently entitled, 
by the estimable character which he had sustained at home^ 
and his high professional reputation. He was presented at 
court, by a minister of the king, and had the honour of being 
consulted on American affairs, by the Marquis of Rocking- 
ham, by the Earl of Chatham, and many other distinguished 

On visiting Edinburgh, he ^as received with still greater 
attention. He was complimented with a public dinner, by 
the authorities of that city, the freedom of which was unani- 
mously conferred upon him, as a testimony of respect for his 
distinguished character. 

A short time previous, the presidency of New-Jersey col 
lege had been conferred upon the Reverend Dr. Wither- 
spoon, a distinguished divine, of the town of Paisley, in the 
vicinity of Glasgow. This appointment Dr. Witherspoon 
had been induced to decline, by reason of the reluctance of 
the female members of his family to emigrate to America. 
At the request of the truiiftces of the college, Mr. Stockton 
fisited Dr. Witherspoon, and was so fortunate in remoying 



objeetions, lihat not long aAer the latter gentleman accepted 
the appointment^ and removed to America, where he became 
a distinguished supporter of the college over which he pre* 
sided, a friend to religion and science in the country, and one 
of the strong pillars in the temple of American freedom. 

The following instances in which Mr. Stockton narrowly 
escaped death, during his absence, deserve notice. While 
he was in the city of Edinburgh, he was waylaid one night by 
a furious robber. He defended himself, however, by means 
of a small sword, and even succeeded in wounding the despe- 
rado. He was not materially injured himself, but was not so 
fortunate as to prevent the escape of his assailant. In the 
other case, he was designing to cross the Irish channel, and 
had actually engaged a passage in a packet for that purpose. 
The unseasonable arrival of his baggage, however, detained 
him, and fortunate it was that he was thus detained, for the 
packet, on her voyage, was shipwrecked during a storm, and 
both passengers and crew found a watery grave. 

The following year he was appointed one of the royal 
judges of the province, and a member of the executive coun- 
cil. At that time he was high in the royal favour, and his 
domestic felicity seemed without alloy. He possessed an 
ample fortune, was surrounded by a family whom he greatly 
loved, and held a high and honourable station under the king 
of Great Britain. 

But the time at length arrived, when the question arose, 
whether he should renounce his allegiance to his sovereign, 
and encounter the sacridces which such a step must bring 
upon him, or continue that allegiance, and forfeit his charac- 
ter as a friend to his country. 

Situated as was Mr. Stockton, the above question could 
not long remain unsettled ; nor was it for any length of time 
doubtful into which scale he would throw the weight of his 
influence and character. The sacrifices which he was called 
upon to make, were cheerfully endured. He separated him- 
self from the royal council, of which he was a member in 
New-Jersey, and joyfully concurred in all those measures 
cHf the day, which had for their object the CBtablishment of 


A^merican rights, in opposition to the arbitrary s^nd oppressive 
acts of the British ministry. 

On the twenty-first Of June, 1776, he was elected by the 
provincial congress of New- Jersey a delegate to the general 
congress, then sitting in the city of Philadelphia. On the 
occurrence of the question relating to a declaration of inde- 
pendence, it is understood that he had some doubts as to the 
expediency of the measure. These doubts, however, were 
soon dissipated by the powerful and impressive eloquence of 
John Adams, the great Colossus on this subject an the floor 
of congress. Mr. Stockton was not only convinced of the 
importance of the measure, but even addressed the house in 
its behalf, before the close of the debate. It is needless to 
detain the reader by a particular mention of the many im 
portant services which Mr. Stockton rendered his country, 
while a member of congress. In all the duties assigned to 
him, which were numerous and. of ten arduous, he acted with 
an energy and fidelity alike honourable to him as a man and 
a patriot. 

On the thirtieth of November he was unfortunately taken 
prisoner by a party of refugee royalists. He ^as dragged 
from his bed by night, and carried to New-York. During 
his removal to the latter place he was treated with great in- 
dignity, and in New- York he was placed in the common 
prison, where he was in want of even the necessaries of life. 
The news of his capture and sufferings being made known to 
congress, that body unanimously passed the following re- 
solution : 

" Whereas congress hath received information that the 
honourable Richard Stockton, of New-Jersey, and a member 
of this congress, hath been made a prisoner by the enemy, 
and that he hath been ignominiously thrown into a common 
goal, and there detained— Resolved, that General Washing- 
ton be directed to make immediate inquiry into the truth of 
this report, and if he finds reason to believe it well founded, 
that he send a flag to General Howe, remonstrating against 
' this departure from that humane procedure which has mark- 
ed the conduct of these states to prisoners who have fallen 



into their hands ; and to know of General Howe whether he 
chooses this shall he the future nde for treating all such, on 
both sides, as the fortune of war may place in the hands of 
either party." 

Mr. Stockton was at length released ; but his confinement 
had been so strict, and his sufferings so serere, that his con- 
stitution could never aAer recover the shock. Besides this, 
his fortune, which had been ample, was now greatly reduced* 
His lands were devastated ; his papers and library were burnt; 
his implements of husbandry destroyed ; and his stock seized 
and driven away. He was now obliged to depend, for a 
season, upon the assistance of friends, for even the necessa* 
ries of life. From the time of his imprisonment his health 
began to fail him ; nor was it particularly benefitted by his 
release, and a restoration to the society of his friends. He 
continued to languish for several years, and at length died at 
his residence, at Princeton, on the 28th of February, 1781» 
in the fifty-third year of his age. 

His death made & wide chasm among the circle of his 
friends and acquaintance. He was, in every respect, a dis- 
tinguished fiian ; an honour to his country, and a friend to the 
cause of science, freedom, and religion, throughout the world. 
The following extract from the discodfrse delivered on the 
occasion of his interment, by the Rev. Dr. Samuel S. Smith, 
will convey to the reader a just account of this distinguished 

«< Behold, my brethren, before your eyes, a most sensible 
and affecting picture of the transitory nature of mortal things, 
in the remains of a man who hath been long among the fore- 
most of his country for power, for wisdom^ and for fortune ; 
whose eloquence only wanted a theatre like Athens, to have 
rivalled the Greek and the Jloman fame ; and who, if what 
honours this young country can bestow, if many and great 
personal talents, could save man from the grave, would not 
thtls have been lamented here by you. Behold there ^ the 
end of all perfection.* 

*' Young gentlemen, (the students of the college,) another 
of the fathers of learning and eloquence is gone. He went 


before in the same path in which you are now treading, tacl 
hath since long presided over, and helped to confirm the 
footsteps of those who were here labouring up the hill of 
science and virtue. While you feel and deplore his loss as 
a guardian of your studies, and as a model upon which you 
might form y6urselves for public life, let the memory of what 
he was excite you to emulate his fame ; let the sight of what 
he is, teach you that every thing human is marked with im- 

''At the bar he practised for many years with unrivalled 
reputation and success. Strictly upright in his profession, 
he scorned to defend a cause that he knew to be unjust. A 
friend to peace and to the happiness of mankind, he has often 
with great pains and attention reconciled contending parties, 
while he might fairly, by the rules of his profession, have 
drawn from their litigation no inconsiderable profit to him- 
self. Compassionate to the injured and distressed, he hath 
often protected the poor and helpless widow unrighteously 
robbed of her dower, hath heard her with patience, when 
many wealthier clients were waiting, and hath zealously pro- 
moted her interest, without the prospect of reward, unless he 
could prevail to have right done to her, and to provide her 
an easy competence for the rest of her days. 

'' Early in his life, his merits recommended him to his 
prince and to his country, under the late constitution, who 
called him to the first honours and trusts of the government. 
In council he was wise and firm, but always prudent and mo- 
derate. Of this he gave a public and conspicuous instance, 
almost under your own observation, when a dangerous insur- 
rection in a neighbouring county had driven the attorneys 
from the bar, and seemed to set the laws at defiance. Whilst 
all men were divided betwixt rash and timid counsels, he 
only, with wisdom and firmness, seized the prudent mean, 
appeased the rioters, punished the ringleaders, and restored 
the laws to their regular course. 

''The office. of a judge of the province, was never fille4 
with more integrity aiid learning than it was by him, for 
several years before the revolution. Since that period, he 
2D 18* 



hath represented New-Jeraey in the congress of the United 
States. Bat a declining health, and a constitution worn out 
with application and with service, obliged him, shortly after, 
to retire from the line of public duty, and hath at length 
dismissed him from the world. 

*< In his private life, he was easy and graceful in his man- 
ners ; in his conversation, affitble and entertaining, and mas- 
ter of a smooth and elegant style even in his ordinary dis- 
course. As a man of letters, he possessed a superior genius, 
highly cultivated by long and assiduous application. His 
researches into the principles of morals and religion were 
deep and accurate, and his knowledge of the laws of his 
country extensive and profound. He was well acquainted 
with all the branches of polite learning ; but he was particu- 
larly admired for a flowing and persuasive eloquence, by 
which he long governed in the courts of justice. 

** As a christian, you know that, many years a member of 
this church, he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. 
Nor could the ridicule of licentious wits, nor the example of 
vice in power, tempt him to disguise the profession of it, or 
to decline from the practice of its virtues. He was, however, 
liberal in his religious principles. Sensible, as became a 
philosopher, of the rights of private judgment, and of the 
difference in opinion that must necessarily arise from the 
variety of human intellects ; he was candid, as became a 
christian, to those who differed from him, where he observed 
their practice marked with virtue and piety. But if we follow 
him to the last scene of his life, and consider him under that 
severe and tedious disorder which put a period to it, there 
the sincerity of his piety, and the force of religion to sup- 
port the mind in the most terrible conflicts, was chiefly visi- 
ble. For nearly two years he bore with the utmost constancy 
and patience, a disorder that makes us tremble only to think 
of it. With most exquisite pain it preyed upon him, until it 
reached the passages by which life is sustained : yet, in the 
midst of as much as human nature could endure, he always 
discovered a submission to the will of heavepi and a resign*- 


tion to his fate, that could only flow from the expectation of 
a better life. 

** Such was the man, whose remains now lie before us, to 
teach us the most interesting lessons that mortals hare to 
learn, the vanity of human things ; the importance o£ eter- 
nity ; the holiness of the divine law ; the value of religion ; 
and the certainty and rapid approach of death '* 


John Witherspoon, a man alike distinguished as a mi- 
nister of the gospel, and a patriot of the revolution, was born 
in the parish of Yester, a few miles from Edinburgh, on the 
6th of February, 1722. He was lineally descended from 
John Knox, the Scottish reformer, of wjiom Mary, queen of 
Scots, said, <^she was more afraid of his prayers, than of an 
army often thousand men." 

The father of Mr. Witherspoon was the minister of the 
parish of Yester. He was a man, eminent for his piety and 
literature, and for a habit of great accuracy in his writings 
and discourses. The example of the father contributed, in no 
small degree, to form in his son that love of taste and simpli- 
city, for which he was deservedly distinguished. 

He was sent, at an early age, to the public school at Had- 
dington, where he soon acquired a high reputation for the na- 
tive soundness of his judgment, his close application to study» 
and the quick and clear conceptions of his mind. Many, who 
at that time were the companions of his literary toils, after- 
wards filled some of the highest stations in the literary and 
political world. 

At the age of fourteen, he was removed to the university 
of Edinburgh. Here he was distinguished, as he had been at 
the* school of Haddington, for his great diligence and rapid 
literary attaioments. In the theological haU, particularly, be 



exhibited an uncommon taste in sacred critidsm, and an una* 
snal precision of thonght, and perspicuity of expression. At 
the age of twenty-one, he finished his collegiate studies, and 
commenced preaching. 

Immediately on leaving the unirersity, he was invited to 
become the minister of Yester, as colleague with his father, 
with the right of succeeding to the charge. He chose, rather, 
however, to accept an invitation from the parish of Beith, in 
the west of Scotland, and here he was ordained and settled, 
by the unanimous consent of his congregation. 

Soon after his settlement at Beith, a circumstance occur- 
red of too interesting a nature to be omitted. On the 17th of 
January, 1746, was fought the battle of Falkirk. Of this bat- 
tle. Dr. Witherspoon and several others were spectators. XJn- 
fo^unately, they were taken prisoners by the rebels, and shut 
up in close confinement in the castle of Doune. In the sdme 
room in which he was confined, were two cells, in one of 
which were five members of a military company from Edin- 
burgh, who had also .been taken prisoners, and two citizens 
of Aberdeen, who had been threatened to be hanged as spies. 
In the other cell were several others who had been made pri- 
soners, under circumstances similar to those of Dr. Wither- 

During the night w^ich followed their imprisonment, the 
thoughts of the prisoners, who were able to communicate 
with one another, were turned on the best means of mak- 
ing their escape. The room where they were confined was 
the highest part of the castle, not far from the battlements, 
which were seventy feet high. It was proposed to form a 
rope of some blankets which they had purchased, and by 
means of this to descend from the battlements to the ground. 

A rope was accordingly made, in the best manner they 
were able, and about one oVlock in the morning they com- 
menced descending upon it. Four reached the ground in 
safety. Just as the fifth touched the ground the rope broke, 
about twenty feet above. This unfortunate occurrence was 
communicated to those who remained on the battlements, and 
warning was given to them not to attempt the hazardous de- 


•cent In disregard, however, of the advice, the next one 
whose turn it was to descend, immediately went down the 
rope. On reaching the end of it, his companions below per- 
ceiving him determined to let go his hold, put themselves in 
a posture to break his fall. They succeeded, however, only 
in part. The poor fellow was seriously injured, having one 
of his ancles dislocated, and several ribs broken. His com* 
panions, however, succeeded in conveying him to a village on 
the borders of the sea, whence he was taken, by means of a 
boat, to a sloop of war l3ang in the harbour. 

The other volunteer, and Dr. Witherspoon, were left be- 
hind. The volunteer now drew the rope up, and to the end 
of it attached several blankets. Having made it sufficiently 
• long, he again let it down and began his descent. He reached 
the place where the rope was originally broken, in safety ; 
but the blankets, which he had attached to it, being too large 
for him to span, like his predecessor, he fell, and was so much 
wounded, that he afterwards died. The fate of these unhap- 
py men induced Dr. Witherspoon to relinquii^ the hope of 
escape in this way, and to wait for a safer mode of liberation. 

From Beith, Dr. Witherspoon was translated, in the course 
of a few years, to the flourishing town of Paisley, where he 
was happy in the affections of a large congregation, among 
whom he was eminently useful, until the period of his emi- 
grating to America, to take charge, as president, of the col- 
lege of New-Jersey. 

The election of Dr. Witherspoon to the presidency of the 
above college, occurred in the year 1766. This appointment, 
however, he was induced^ to decline, in the first instance, from 
the reluctance of the female members of his family, and espe- 
cially of Mrs. Witherspoon, to leave the scene of their happi- 
ness and honour, for a land of strangers, and that land so dis- 
tant from her father's sepulchres. 

^t a subsequent period, however. Dr. Witherspoon again 
took the subject into consideration ; and at length, through the 
influence and representations of Mr. Stockton, of whom we 
have spoken in the preceding memoir, acceded to the wishes 
of the trustees, in accepting the presidency of the college. It 


reflects no small honour upon Dr. Witherspoon, that he 
should consent to cross the ocean, and take charge of a col- 
lege in a new country, leaving behind him a sphere of great 
respectability, comfort, and usefulness. Having previously 
declined, it is understood, an urgent invitation to an honoura- ' 
ble station in Dublin, in Rotterdam, and in the town of Dun- 
dee, in his own country. It deserves also to be mentioned, 
that a little previous to his embarking for America, and while 
still in a state of suspense, respecting his duty, an unmarried 
gentleman of considerable fortune, and a relation of tlie 
&mily, offered to make him his heir, provided be would remain 
in Scotland. 

Dr. Witherspoon arrived in America in August, 1766, and 
in the same month was inaugurated president of the college. 
The fame of his literary character caused an immediate ac- 
cession to the number of students, and an increase of the 
funds of the college. At that time it had not been patronized 
by the state. It had been founded and supported by private 
liberality. At the period of Dr. Witherspoon's arrival, the 
finances of the college were in a low and declining condition. 
His reputation, however, in connexion with his persona] ex- 
ertions, excited the generosity of all parts of the country, 
from Massachusetts to Virginia ; in consequence of which, 
the finances of the institution were soon raised to a flourishing 
state. During the war of the revolution, the college was 
broken up, and its resources neariy annihilated. Yet it can 
scarcely be estimated how much the institution owed, at that 
time, to the enterprise and talents of Dr. Witherspoon. 

<' But the principal advantages it derived,*' says Dr. Rogers, 
in a discourse occasioned by his death, '< were from his litera- 
ture, his superintendency, his example as a happy model 
of good writing, and from the tone and taste which he gave 
lo tHe literary pursuits of the college." 

He made great alterations in every department of instruc- 
tion. '* He endeavoured," says the same writer, ^* to establish 
the system of education in this institution, upon the most ex- 
tensive and respectable basis, that its situation and its finances 
would admit. Formerly, the course of instruction had been 



too superficial : and its metaphysics and philosophy were too 
much tinctured with the dry and uninstructive forms of the 
schools. This, however, was by no means to be imputed as 
a defect to those great and excellent men who had presided 
over the institution before him, but rather to the recent origin 
of the country, the imperfection of its state of society, and 
to the state of literature in it. Since his presidency, ma- 
thematical science has received an extension that was not 
known before in the American seminaries. He introduced 
into philosophy all the most liberal and modern improve- 
ments of Europe. He extended the philosophical course to 
embrace the general principles of policy and public law ; he 
incorporated with it sound and rational metaphysics, equally 
remote from the doctrines of fatality and contingency, from 
the barrenness and dogmatism of the schools, and from the 
excessive refinements of those contradictory, but equally im- 
pious sects of scepticism, who wholly deny the existence of 
matter, or maintain that nothing but matter exists in the 

" He laid the foundation of a course of history in the col- 
lege, arid the principles of taste, and the rules of good wri- 
ting, were both happily explained by him, and exemplified in 
his mannerJ** He possessed an admirable faculty for go- 
verning, and was very successful in exciting a' good degree 
of emulation among the pupils committed to his care. Un 
der his auspices, many were graduated, who became distin 
guished for their learning, and for the eminent services which 
they rendered their countrymen as divines, as legislators, and 

On the occurrence of the American war, the college was 
broken up, as has already been noticed, and the ofiicers and 
students were dispersed. Dr. Witherspoon now appeared in 
a new attitude before the American public. Although a fo 
reigner, he had laid aside his prejudices on becoming a citi- 
zen of the country, and now warmly espoused the cause of 
the Americans against the English ministry. His distin- 
guished abilities pointed him out to the citizens of New- Jer- 
sey, as one of Ae most proper delegates to that convention 


which formed their repabliean constitatioii. In this respect 
able assembly he appeared, to the aatoaishment of all the 
professoni of the law, as profound a ciTilian as he had before 
been known to be a philosopher and divine. 

Early in the year 1770, he was elected a representative to 
fhe general congress, by the people of New-Jersey. He 
took his seat a few days previously to the fourth of July, and 
assisted in the deliberations on the momentous question of a 
declaration of independence. Of this measure he was an ad- 
vocate. It was a happy reply which he made to a gentleman 
who, in opposing the measure, declared that the country was 
not yet ripe for a declaration of independence. ** Sir,*' said 
he, ** in my judgment the country is not only ripCf but 

For the apace of seven years. Dr. Witherspoon continued 
to represent the people of New* Jersey in the general con- 
gress. He was seldom absent from his seat, and never al- 
lowed personal considerations to prevent his attention to of- 
ficial duties. Few men acted with more energy and promp 
titude ; few appeared to be enriched with greater political 
wisdom ; few enjoyed a greater share of public confidence ; 
few accomplished more for the country, than he did, in the 
sphere in which he was called to act. In the most gloomy and 
formidable aspect of public affairs, he was always firm, dis- 
covering the greatest reach and presence of mind, in tl|p most 
embarrassing situations. 

It is impossible here ' to particularise all, or even a small 
part of the important services which he rendered his country, 
during his continuance in the grand legislative council. He 
served on numerous committees, where his judgment and ex- 
perience were of eminent importance. He seldom took part 
in the discussions of public measures, until, by reason and 
refie<^tion, he had settled his ideas on the subject. He would 
then come forward with great clearness and power, and sel- 
dom did he fail to impart light to a subject, and cause even 
his opponents to hesitate. His speeches were usually com- 
posed in closet, and committed to memory. His memory was 

sonm wxTHBESPooir. 917 

ttnisiiflllj tenacious. He could repeat yerbatim a sennoii, 
or a speeeh, composed bj himself, by reading it jdiree times. 

Dr. Witherspoon, it must be admitted, was a sagacious po- 
litician. He indeed adopted views which, in some respoets, 
differed from those of his brethren in congress ; yet his prin* 
ciples hare been justified by the result. A few examples may 
be mentioned. He constantly opposed the expendve mode 
of supplpng the army by commission. For sereral yean 
this was the mode adopted. A certain commission per cent 
on the money that the commimoners expended, was allowed 
them, as a compensation. A strong temptation was thus pre* 
sente j to purchase at extravagant prices, dince the commis- 
sioners correspondingly increased their compensation. 

In consequence of this mode of supplying the army, the 
expenses of the country became alarmingly great. Much 
dissatisfaction, from time to time, existed in reference to the 
mtyiagement of the ebmmissuy general's department, and a 
reform was loudly demanded by many judicious men in the 
country. Among those who loudly complained on this sub- 
ject, and who deemed a change essential to the salvation of 
the country. Dr. Witherspoon was one. This change, so 
useful and economical, was at length agreed to, July lOlh, 
1781. The superintendent of finance was authorized to pro- 
cure all necessary supplies for the army and navy of the 
Unitei^ States by contract, t. e, by allowing a certain sum to 
the purchaser for every ration furnished. 

Another point on which Dr. Witherspoon differed from 
many of his brethren in congress, was the emission of a pa- 
per currency. Afler the first or second emission, he strongly 
opposed the system, predicting the wound which would be 
utdmatdy given to public credit, and the private distress 
which must necessarily follow. Instead of emissions of an 
unfunded paper beyond a certain quantum. Dr. Withei|ipoon 
urged the propriety of making loans and establishing funds 
for the payment of the interest Happy had it been for the 
country, had this better policy been adopted. At a subse- 
qsent date, at the instance of some of the very gentlemen 
who <^ppo9ed him in congress, he published his ideas on the. 
2E 19 



nfttore, Tahie* and uses of money* in one of the most clear 
and jadicioQs essays that perhaps was ever written on the 

At the close of the year 1779, Dr. Witherspoon voluntari- 
ly retired from congress, desirous of spending the remainder 
of his life, as he said, in ** otio cum dignUaie.*^ According- 
ly, he resigned his house in the vicinity of the college to his 
son-in-law, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Smith, to whom was com- 
mitted the care and instruction of the students, who now be- 
gan to return from their dispersion. Dr. Witherspoon retired 
to a country seat, at the distance of about one mile from 
Princeton. His name, however, continued to add celelmty 
to the institution, which hot long after recovered its former 

But he was not long aDowed the repose which he so much 
desired. In 1781, he was again elected a representative to 
congress. But at the close of the following year, he retired 
from political life. In the year 1783, he was induced, through 
his attachment to the institution over which he had so long 
presided, to cross the ocean to promote its benefit He was 
now in his sixtieth year, and strong must have been his re- 
gard for the interests of learning, to induce him, at U^is ad- 
vanced age, to brave the dangers of the ocean. Much suc- 
cess could scarcely be expected in an undertaking of this 
idnd, considering the hostility which still subsisted beHveen 
England and America. The pecuniary assistance which he 
obtained exceeded only, by a little, his necessary expenses, 
although he was not wanting in enterprise and zeal in relation 
to the object of his voyage. 

After his return to this country, in 1784, finding nothing 
to obstruct his entering on that retirement which was now 
becoming dear to him, he withdrew, in a great measure, ex- 
cept on some important occasions, from the exercise of those 
public functions that were not immediately connected with 
the duties of his office, as president of the college, or bis 
character as a minister of the gospel. 

Although Dr. Witherspoon was peculiarly fitted for politi- 
cal life, he appeared with still more advantage as a ministet 


of the gospel, and particularly as a minister in the pnlint. 
*' He was, in many respects," says Dr. Rogers, ^ one of the 
best models on which a young preacher could form himselC 
It was a singular felicity to the wh<^e college, but especially 
to those who had the profession of the ministry in contempk*' 
tion, to hare such an example constantly in view. Religion, by 
the manner in which it was treated by him, always command- 
ed the respect of those who heard him, even when it was not 
able to engage their hearts. An admirable textuary ; a pro- 
found theologian, perspicuous and simple in his manner ; an 
universal scholar, acquainted with human nature ; a grave, 
dignified, solemn speaker ; — ^he brought all the advantages 
derived from these sources, to th'e illustration and enforce* 
ment of divine truth.*' 

The social qualities of Dr. Witherspoon rendered him one 
of the most companionable of men. He possessed a rich 
fund of anecdote, both amusing and instructive. His mo- 
ments of relaxation were as entertaining as his serious ones 
«« were fraught with improvement. The following anecdote 
presents a specimen of his pleasantry. On the surrender of 
the British army to General Crates, at Saratoga, that officer 
dispatched one of his aids to convey the news to congress. 
The interesting character of the intelligence would hav« 
prompted most men to have made as expeditious a journey as 
pos4M® 9 hut the aid proceeded so leisurely, that the intelli- 
gence reached Philadelphia three days before his arrival. It 
was usual for congress, on such occasions, to bestow some 
mark of their esteem upon the person who was the bearer of 
intelligence so grateful ; and it was j^roposed, in this case, to 
best w upon the messenger an elegant sword. During the 
conversation on this subject in the hall. Dr. Witherspoon 
rose, and begged leave to amend the motion, by substituting 
for an elegant sword, a pair of golden spurs. 

Another interesting trait in his character, was his attention 
to young persons. He never suffered an opportunity to es- 
cape him of imparting the most useful advicfe to them, ae- 
coriing to their circumstances, when they happened to be in 
bis company. And this was always done with so much kind- 

■Mi and mafitf 9 Uwt tbty coqU neither be inaiteiitiire to k 
or easily forget it 

la domeetic life» he was an afiectionate husbandt a tender 
parent* a kind master, and a sincere ifiend* He was twice 
narried* The first time in Scotland, at an early age, to a 
lady by the name of Montgomery. She was a woman dis- 
tinguished for her faety and benevolence. At the time of his 
emigration to America, he had three sons and two daughters. 
James, his eldest son, was killed in the battle of Germantown. 
John was bred a ph3rsician, and Darid applied himself to the 
study of the law. Both were respectable men. Of the 
d ughters, one was married to the Rev. Samuel S. Smith, 
the successor of Dr. Witherspoon in the presidency of 
the college. The other became connected with Dr. Ramsay, 
the celebrated historian. The second marriage of Dr. With- 
erspoon occurred when he^was seventy years old; the lady 
whom he married was only twenty-three. 

In his person. Dr. Witherspoon was remarkably dignified. 
He was six feet in height, and of fine proportion. He was 
distinguished for a fenrent piety, and for great punctuality 
and exactness in his derotional exercises. ** Besides his 
daily devotions of the closet, and the family, it was his stated 
practice to observe the last day of every year, with his &mUy, 
as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer: and it was also 
his practice to set apart days for secret fasting and prajer» as 
occasion suggested." 

** Bodily infirmities began at length to come upon him* For 
more than two years before his death, he was afflicted with 
the loss of sight, which contributed to hasten the progress 
of hi^ other disorders. These he bore with a patience, and 
even with a cheerfulness, rarely to be met with in the most 
eminent for wisdom and piety. Nor would his active mind, 
and his desire of usefulness to the end, permit him, even in 
tliis situation, to desist from the exercise of his ministry, and 
nis duties in the college, as far as his strength and health 
would admit He was frequently led into the pulpit, both at 
home and abroad, during his blindness ; and always acquitted 


himself with hb usual accuracy, and frequently with more 
than his usual solemnity and animation." 

At length, however, he sank under the accumulated pres- 
sure of his infirmities ; and on the 16th day of November, 1794, 
in the seventy-third year of his age he retired to his final rest 
The following epitaph is inscribed on the marble which coven 
his remains : 

Beneath this marble lie interred 

the mortal remains of 


a venerable and beloved President of the College of 


He waa bom in the parish of Tester, in Scotland^ 

on the 6th of Febmarj, 1722, O. S. 

And was liberally educated in the University of Edinburghi 

invested with holy orders in the year 1743, 

he fidthfully performed the duties of 

his pastoral charge, 

during five and twenty yean, 

first at Beith, and then at Paisley. 

Elected president of Nassau Hall, 

hft aanimed the duties of that office on the 13th of Augusti 1768^ 

with the elevated expectations of the publia 

Excelling in every mental gift, 

he was a man of pre-eminent piety and virtue 

and deeply versed in the various branches 

of literature and the liberal arts. 

A grave and solemn preacher, 

his sermons abounded in the most excellent doctrines and precegAM^ 

and in lucid expositions of the Holy Scriptures. 

AflOafale^ pleasant, and courteous in familiar convenation, 

he was eminently distinguished 

in concerns and deliberations of the church, 

and endowed with the greatest prudence 

in the management and instruction of youth. 

He exalted 

the reputation of the college amongst foreigner% 

and greatly promoted the advancement < 

of its literary character and taste. 
He was, for a long time, conspicuous 
^mAng the most brilliant luminaries of learning and of the Church. 

At length, 

universally venerated, beloved, and lamented, 

he departed this life on the fifteenth of November, MDCCXCIV. 

aged LXXm yean. 

ttt , HBwjBmnnr VBUMuvmi 


Feahcii HoPKiifeoif wm a nattre of Pemuylrania, and 
bora in the dty of Philadelphia, in the year 1737. His 
lather, Thomas Hopkinson, waa an Englishman, who endgra^ 
ted to America, but in what year is unknown to the writer. 
A short time previous to his emigration, he became respecta- 
bly connected by marriagOt with a niece of the bishop of Wor- 

On his arrival in America, he took up his residence in Che 
city of Philadelphia, where )ie honourably filled seyeral offices 
of distinction, under the government of his natiye country. 
Mr.Hopkinson was distinguished for his scientific attainments. 
He was intimate with that distinguished philosopher, Benja- 
min Franklin, by whom he was held in high estimation. The 
intimacy which subsisted between these gentlemen, seems to 
have arisen from a similarity of taste, particularly on philoso- 
phical subjects. To Mr. Hopkinson is attributed the first ex- 
periment of attracting the electric fluid, by means of a 
painted instrument, instead of a blunt one. This experiment 
he had the pleasure of first exhibiting to Dr. Franklin. Its 
practical importance consisted in preventing the severe explo- 
sion, which always takes place in the passage of the electric 
fluid, upon a blunted instrument. 

Upon the death of Mr. Hopkinson, which occurred while 
he was in the prime of life, the care of his interesting and 
numerous family devolved upon his widow. Fortunately, 
Mrs. Hopkinson was a lady of superior mental endowments, 
and well qualified to superintend the education of her child- 
ren. At an early period, discovering indications of genius in 
her son, the subject of the present memoir, she resolved to 
make every sacrifice, and every effort in her power, to give 
him the advantages of a superior education. Her income 
was comparatively limited, but a mother can relinquish every 
enjoyment for her children. This Mrs. Hopkinson did with 
the greatest pleasure ; and to the practice of self*denial for her 
son, she added, for his benefit, the most admirable precepts, 


and the most excellent example. Her efforts were crowned 
with singular success. She lived to see him graduate with repu- 
tation, from the college of Philadelphia, and become eminent 
in the profession of law. He possessed talents of a high or- 
der. His genius was quick and versatile. He penetrated the 
depths of science with ease, and with grave and important 
truths stored his capacious mind. But he by no means ne- 
glected the lighter accomplbhments. {n music and poetry he 
excelled, and had some knowledge of painting. Few men 
were more distinguished for their humour and satire. 

In the year 1766, Mr. Hopkinson embarked for England, 
for the purpose of visiting the land of his fathers. Such was 
the estimation in which he was hdd in his native city, that he 
received a public expression of respect and affection, from 
the board of trustees of the college of Philadelphia, which the 
provost of that institution was desired to communicate to 
him^ and wish him, in the behalf of his Alma Mater, a safe 
and prosperous voyage. 

After a residence of more than two years in England, he re- 
turned to America, soon after which he became settled in lifot 
having married a Miss Borden, of Bordentown, in the state 
of New- Jersey. His acknowledged talents soon drew the at- 
tention of the royal government, under which he received the 
appointment of collector of the customs, and executive coun- 

These offices, however, he did not long enjoy, being obli- 
ged to sacrifice them in the cause of his country. He entered 
with strong feelings into the public measures which preceded 
the revolutionary contest, and having taken up his residence 
in New-Jersey, his abilities and patriotism pointed him out 
as a proper person to represent her in congress. According- 
ly, in the year 1776 he received this appointment, and in this 
capacity he voted for the declaration of independence, and 
subsequently affixed his signature to the engrossed copy oi 
that memorable instrument. 

On the retirement of Mr. Ross,, in 1779, the judge of the 
admiralty court of Pennsylvania, the president of that state 
nominated Mr. Hopkinson as his successor; an office to 


which he wts unanimously appointed* and the daties of 
which, for ten years, until the organization of the federal 
gOTemment, he continued to discharge with honour to hiOi- 
self, and benefit to his coiintry. 

Soon after the adoption of the federal constitntion. General 
Washington, with the advice and consent of the senate, ap* 
pointed Mr. Hopkinson to the office of Judge of the United 
States, for the district of Pennsylvania. This was an impor- 
tant and dignified station, for which he was admirably fitted, 
and in which capacity he assisted in giving stability and dig- 
nity to the national government. 

During the period of his judicial career, he conscientiously 
avoided mingling in party, or occasional politics. He em- 
ployed his powers, however, when occasion required, in pro- 
moting the public good. He contributed in no small degree 
in rousing the feelings of the people, during the war of the 
revolution. The chief means by which be accomplished this, 
was the employment of his powers of satire, which he pos- 
sessed in an uncommon degree. His occasional productions 
were quite numerous, and were well adapted to the state of 
the country at that time. They rendered the author justly 
popular at that day, and will continue to interest and amuse, 
while the memory of these times shall remain. 

Mr. Hopkinson published several poetical pieces. His chief 
merit as a poet consisted in an easy versification. His poeti- 
cal productions were chiefly designed to amuse. This object 
they efiected. They attracted no small attention, through- 
out the country ; but none was mora popular than the humo- 
rous and well known ballad, called " The Battle of the Kegs.** 

The life of Mr. Hopkinson was suddenly terminated, 
while in the midst of his usefulness, on the eighth of May, 1791, 
in the fifty-third year of his age. He died of an apoplectic 
fit, which, in two hours after the attack, put a period to hig 
mortal existence. In stature, Mr. Hopkinson was below the 
common size. His countenance was extremely animated, 
though his features were small. In speech he was fluent* 
and in his motions he was unusually quick. Few men were 
kinder in their dispositions, or more benevolent in their lives 


He was distmgukhed for his powers of taste^ and for his love 
and deTotion to sdence. ^6 possessed a library, which con- 
tained the most dlstingnished literary productions of the 
times ; and in his library room was to be fovnd a coUection 
of aeientific apparatus, with which he amused hims^ in his 
loiaure hours, and added greatly to his stock of itnowledge. 
The following anecdote furnishes eridence of the estimation 
in which he was held, as a philosopher, and a man of letters. 
Sometime during the revolutionary war, Bordentown, the 
place where Mr. Hopkinson and family resided, was suddenly 
invaded by a party of Hessians. The family had hardly time 
to escape before the invaders began the plunder of the house. 
After the evacuation of Philadelphia, by the British, a vo- 
Imne, which had been taken from the library of Mr. Hopkin- 
son, at the above period, fell into his hands. On a blank leaf, 
the officer, who took the book, had written in German an 
acknowledgment of the theft, declaring that although he 
believed Mr. Hopkinson to be an obstinate rebel, the books 
and philosophical apparatus of his library were sufficient evi- 
'.tence, that he was a learned -»«»>- 

Mr. Hopkinson, et his decease, left a widow and five chil- 
dren. The eldest of these, Joseph Hopkinson, who still lives, 
strongly resembles his lather, in the endowments of his mind, 
and the brilliancy of his genius. He occupies an enviable 
rank among the advocates of the American bar. 


The history of the world probably furnishes not another 
instance in which there was a nobler exhibition of true patri- 
otism, than is presented in the history of the American revo- 
lution. It was certain at its commencement, in respect to 
numerous individuals, whose talents, wisdom and enterprise 
w^re necessary to its success, that they could derive but little, 



if any, indrndaal advantage. Nay, it waa certain, that in 
•tead of gain they would be subjected to great Iom and suffer^ 
ing. The comforts of their families would be abridged ; their 
property destroyed ; their farms desolated ; their houses plun- 
dered or consumed ; their sons might fall in the field of battle : 
and, should (he struggle be Tain, an ignominious death would be 
their portion. But, then, the contest respected rights which 
God had given them ; it respected liberty, that dearest and 
noblest privilege of man ; it respected the happiness of gene- 
rations yet to succeed each other on this spacious continent 
to the end of time. Such considerations influenced the pa- 
triots of the revolution. They thought comparatively little 
of themselves ; their views were fixed on the happiness of 
others ; on the future glory of their country ; on universal 
liberty ! 

These sentiments alone could have actuated John Hart, the 
subject of the present memoir, a worthy and independent 
farmer of New-Jersey. He was the so^ of Edward Hart, of 
Hopewell, in the county of Hunterdon, in New-Jersey. The 
time of his birth is unknown to the writer ; and unfortunate- 
ly lew incidents of his life have been preserved. He inherited 
from his father a considerable patrimojt^ial estate. To this he 
added, by purchase, a farm of about/our hundred acres. He 
married a Miss Scudder, a respectable and amiable lady, by 
whom he had a numerous family of children. He was fond oi 
agricultural pursuits; and in the quiet of domestic life, sought 
those enjoyments, which are among the purest which the 
world affords. 

The character which Mr. Hart sustained for wisdom, sta- 
bility, and judgment naturally brought him into notice, and 
disposed the community to seek the aid of his counsel. He 
was often a member of the colonial assembly ; and rendered 
important service to the section of country in which he re- 
sided, by suggesting improvements as to hying out new roads, 
the erection of bridges, the superior means of education, and 
the prompt administration of justice. 

At the commencement of the aggressions of the British 
ministry upon the rights of the colonies, Mr. Hart perceived, 


in common with many of ^e thinking men of the day, that 
the only alternative of the latter would be a resort to arms^ 
or absolute slavery. Although he was not one of die most 
zealous men, or as easily roused to adopt strong measures, as 
were some of those around him, still he was not backward to 
express his abhorrence of the unjust conduct of the mother 
eountry, nor to enter upon a well matured system of opposi- 
ti<m to her designs. He was particularly disgusted with the 
stamp act. Not that he feared pecuniary loss from its exac 
tions ; it was an inconsiderable tax ; but trifling as it was, in 
volved a principle of the greatest importance. It gave to the 
crown a power over the colonies, against the arbitrary exer- 
cise of which they had no security. They had in truth, upon 
the principles cUtimed by the British government, little or no 
control over their own property. It might be taxed in the 
manner, and to the extent, which parliament pleased, and not 
a single representative from the colonies could raise his voice 
in their behalf. It was not strange, therefore, that the setting 
up of such a claim^on the other side of the water, should have 
been severely felt in the American colonies, and that a spirit 
of opposition should have pervaded all classes, as well the 
bumble as the elevated,» the farmer in his retirement as well 
as the statesman in his pvblic life. 

This spirit of opposition in the colonics kept pace with the 
spirit of aggression in the mother country. There were few 
men in the community, who did not feel more intensely each 
succeeding month the magnitude of the subject ; and who 
were not more and more convinced of the necessity of an 
united and firm opposition to the British government. 

When the congress of 1774 assembled, Mr. Hart appeared, 
and took his seat ; having been elected by a conference o^ 
committees from several parts of the colony. The precise 
share which he took in the deliberations of this august and 
venerable body, is unknown. If his habits and unambitious 
spirit led him to act a less conspicuous part than some others, 
he rendered perhaps no less valuable service, by his modera- 
tion and cool judgment. 

During several succeeding sessions, Mr. Hart continued to 


represent the people of New-Jeraey in the continental con 
grress. When the qtiefltion respecting a Declaradon of Inde- 
pendence was brought forward, he was at his post, and roted 
for the measure with unusual xeal. It was a distinruisbed 
honour to belong to this congress, under any circumstances ; 
but the appointment of Mr. Hart must have been pecuiiariy 
flattering to him. A little time previous, the provincial con- 
gress of Ne woJersey had made several changes in their delega- 
tion to the general congress. Their confidence was not entire 
in some of their representatives, especially in regard to that bold 
and decisive measure, a declaration of independence, which 
was now occuppng the thoughts of many in the country. But 
the firmness of Mr. Hart, or, as he was afterwards called, 
•« honest John Hart," they could safely trust. They knew 
him to be a man of tried courage, and never inclined to adopt 
temporizing or timorous measures. He was accordingly re* 
tained, while others were dismissed; and was instructed, ^to 
join with the delegates of the other colonies in continental 
congress, in the most vigorous measures for supporting the 
just rights and liberties of America ; and if you shall judge it 
necesaary or expedient for this purpose, to join with them in 
declaring the United Colonies independent of Great Britain, 
entering into a confederation for union and common defence, 
making treaties with foreign nations for commerce and assist- 
ance, and to take such other measures as may appear to them 
and you necessary for those great ends, promising to support 
them with the whole force of this province ; always observing, 
that whatsoever plan of confederacy you enter into, the regu- 
lating the internal police of this province is to be reserved to 
the colonial legislature." 

Sometime during the latter part of the year 1770, New«Jer* 
sey became the theatre of war. The distress which the peo- 
ple suffered in consequence, was very great ; and a wanton 
destruction of property was often occasioned by the enemy. 
In this destruction, the property of Mr. Hart largely partici- 
pated. His children were obliged to flee, his fiirm was pil- 
laged, and great exertions were made to secure him, as a 
prison '^.r. The situation of Mrs. Hart was at the time pecu- 
liarly distressing. She was afflicted with a disease, which 


preyented her removal to a place of safety, and erentu- 
ally caused her death. Mr. Hart caii||nued by her side, 
until the enemy had nearly reached the house, when he made 
hifl escape, his wife being safer alone than if he were present. 
For some time, he was hunted and pursued with the most un 
tiring zeaL He was scarcely able to elude his enemies, was 
oAen in great want of food, and sometimes destitute of a com- 
fortable lodging for the night. In one instance, he was 
obliged to conceal himself, during the night, in the usual rest- 
ing place of a large dog, who was his companion for the time. 

The battles of Trenton and Princeton led to the evacua- 
tion of New- Jersey by the British. On this event, Mr. Hart 
again collected his family, and began to repair the desolation 
of his farm by the hand of the enemy. Hb constitution, how- 
evert had received an irreparable shock. His health gradual- 
ly failed him ; and though he lived to see brighter prospects 
opening before his country, he died before the contest was 
ended. His death occurred in the year 1780. Although the 
domestic peace and tranquillity of few men had been more 
disturbed than those of Mr. Hart, he never repented the course 
he had taken. He enlisted himself in a good cause ; and in the 
darkest periods, still believed that a righteous Providence would 
ultimately enable that cause to prevail, and finally to triumph. 

The personal appearance of Mr. Hart was uncommonly in- 
teresting ; in his form he was straight and well proportioned. 
In stature, he was above the middling size, and, when a young 
man, was said to have been handsome. In his disposition 
he was uncommonly mild and amiable. He was greatly be* 
loved by his family and friends, and highly respected by a 
large circle of acquaintance, who often appealed to his wis- 
dom and judgment in the settlement of their local affiiirs. In 
addition to this, he enjoyed the reputation of being a sincere 
and humble christian. He was exceedingly liberal to the 
Baptist church of Hopewell, to which community he belonged ; 
and greatly assisted them in the erection of a public house of 
worship; the ground for which he presented to the churchy 
as also the ground for a burial place. Such was the life, and 
such the last end, of ^' honest John Hart' 



It ifl nnfortonately the feet, in respeet to many of the dis* 
tingobhed acton in tfie levolutionary dnma, but especially 
in reference to the robfoct of this memoir, that but few inci* 
dents of their lires hare been preserved. The truth is, that 
although men of exalted patriotism, who filled their respec- 
tive duties, both in pubKc and private life, with great honour 
to themselves and benefit to all around them, they ivere 
naturally unobtrusive and unambitious. The incidents of their 
lives were, indeed, few. Some of them lived in retirement, 
pursuing the ** even tenor of their way,'* nor was the regularity 
of their lives often interrupted, except, perhaps, by an atten- 
dance upon congress, or by die discharge of some minor civil 
office in the community. 

These remarks apply with some justice to Mr. Clark, 
but perhaps not with more force, than to several others, who 
stand enrolled among the signers of the declaration of inde- 

Mr. Clark was a native of Elizabethtown, New-Jersey, 
where he was bom, on the fifteenth of February, 1736. His 
father's name was Thomas Clark, of whom he was an only 
child. His early education, although confined to English 
branches of study, was respectable. For the mathematics and 
the civil law he is said to have discovered an early predileo 
tion. g 

He was bred a farmer ; but his constitution being inade 
quate to the labours of the field, he turned his attention 
to surveying, conveyancing, and imparting legal advice. 
For this last service he was well qualified ; and as he 
gave advice gratuitously, he was called, " the poor man's 

The course of Mr. Clark's life, his love of study, and the 
generosity of his character, naturally rendered him popu- 
lar. His opiniiMi was valued, and often sought, even beyond 
tibe immediate circle within which he lived. He was call- 
ed to fill various respectable offices, the duties of mhish 


lie discharged with great fidelity ; and thus rendered him- 
self highly useful in the community in which he lired. 

At an early period of the reTolution^ as he had formed his 
opinion on the great question, which divided the British go- 
vernment and the American colonies, he was appointed one 
of the committee of public safety ; and some time after was 
elected by the provincial congress, in conjunction with the gen- 
tlemen, a sketch of whose lives has already been given, a dele- 
gate to the continental congress. 

Of this body he was a member, for a considerable period ; 
and was conspicuous among hi?colleagues from New-Jersey. 
A few days after he took his seat for the first time, as a mem- 
ber of congress, he was called upon to vote for, or against, the 
proclamation of independence. But he was at no loss on 
which side to throw his influence. His patriotism was of the 
purest character. Personal considerations did not influence 
his decision. He knew.fuU well that fortune and individual 
safety were at stake. But what were these in comparison 
with the hcmour and liberty of his country. He voted, there- 
fore, for the declaration of independence, and aflized his 
name to that sacred instrument with a firm determination to 
meet the consequences of the hoble, but dangerous acticm, 
with a fortitude and resolution becoming a free bom citizen 
of America. 

Mr. Clark frequently, after this time, represented New- 
Jersey in the national councils. He was also o^n a 
member of the state legislature. But in whatever capacity 
he acted as a public servant, he attracted the respect and ad- 
miration of the community, by his punctuality, his integrity, 
and perseverance. 

In 1787, he was elected a member of the general con- 
vention, which framed the constitution ; but in consequence 
of ill health, was prevented from uniting in the deliberations 
of that body. To the constitution, as originally proposed, 
he had serious objections. These, however, were removed 
by subsequent amendments ; but his enemies took advan- 
tage of his objections, and for a time he was placed in 
the minority in the elections of New-Jersey. His popu- 

hiitjf howerer, again reTi^ed, and he was eleclea a re- 
presentatire in the second eongressy under the federal con- 
stitution ; an appointment which he continned to hold until 
a short time preridus to his death. Two or three of the 
sons of Mr. Clark were officers in the army, daring the re* 
Tolutionary struggle. Unfortunately they were captured by 
the enemy. During a part of their captivity, their suffer- 
ings were extreme, being confined in the notorious prison- 
ship, Jersey. Painful as the condition 'of his sons was, 
Mr. Clark scrupulously avoided calling the attention of 
congress to the subject, excepting in a single instance. 
One of his sons, a captain of artillery, had been cast into a 
dungeon, where he received no other food than that which 
was conveyed to him by his fellow prisoners, through a key 
hole. On a representation of these facts to congress, that 
body immediately directed a course of retaliation in reject 
to a British officer. This had the desired effect, and Captain 
Clark's condition was improved. . 

On the adjournment of congress in June, 1794, Mr. Clark 
finally retired from public life. He did not live long, how- 
ever, to enjoy even the limited comforts he possessed. In the 
autumn of the same yesir a stroke of the sun put a period to 
his mortal existence, in the space of two hours. He was al- 
ready, however, an old man, having attained to his sixty- 
ninth year. The church yard at Rahway contains his mor- 
tal remains, and the church of that place will long have rea- 
son to remember his benefactions. A marble slab marks the 
place where this useful and excellent man lies deposited, and 
the following inscription upon it, records the distinguish- 
ed traits of his character : 

Finn and decided las a patriot, 

sealous and faithful as a friend to the public, 

he loved his country, 

and adhered to her cause 

in the darkest hours of her struggles 

against oppression. 


Robert Morris, 
Benjamin Rush, 
Benjamin Franklin, 
John Morton, 
Geooe Clymer, 
James Smith, 
George Taylor, 
James Wilson, 
Georoe Ross. 


Robert Morris was a native. of Lancashire, England, 
where he was bom January, 1773 — 4, O. S. His father 
was a Liverpool merchant, who had for some years been ex- 
tensively concerned in the American trade. While he was 
yet a boy, his father removed to America; shortly after 
which, he sent to England for his son, who arrived in this 
country at the age of thirteen years. 

Young Morris was placed at school in Philadelphia, but 
his progress in learning appears to have been small, probably 
from the incompetency of his teacher, as he declared to his 
fiither one day, on the latter expressing his dissatisfaction at 
the little progress he made, ^* Sir," said he, ** I have learn- 
ed all that he can teach me." 

** During the time that young Morris was pursuing his 
2F 20* 


education at Philadelphia, he unfortunately lost his father, in 
consequence of a wound received from tlie wad of a gun, 
which was discharged as a compliment, by the captain of a 
snip consigned to him, that had just arrived at Oxford, the 
place of his residence, on the eastern shores of the Chesa- 
peake Bay, and was thus left an orphan, at the age of £Aeen 
years. In conformity to the intentions of his parent, he y/ns 
bred to commerce, and served a regular apprenticeship in 
the counting*house of the late Mr. Charles Willing, at that 
time one of the first merchants of Philadelphia. A year or 
two after the expiration of the term for which he had engaged 
himself, he entered into partnership with Mr. Thomas AVil- 
ling. This connexion, which was formed in 1754, continued 
for the long period of thirty-nine years, not having been dis- 
solved until 1703. Previously to the commencement of the 
American war, it was, without doubt, more extensively en- 
gaged in commerce than any other house in Philadelphia. 

'^ Of the events of his youth we know little. The fact just 
mentioned proves, that although early deprived of the benefit 
of parental counsel, he acted with fidelity, and gained the 
good will of a discerning master. The following anecdote 
will show his early activity in business, and anxiety to pro- 
mote the interests of his friends. During the absence of Mr. 
Willing, at his country place, near Frankford, a vessel ar- 
rived at Philadelphia, either consigned to him, or that brought 
letters, giving intelligence of the sudden rise in the price of 
fiour, at the port she left. Mr. Morris instantly engaged all 
that he could contract for, on account of Mr. Willing, who, on 
his return to the city next day, had to defend his young friend 
from the complaints of some merchants, that he had raised 
the price of flour. An appeal, however, from Mr. Willing, 
to their own probable line of conduct, in case of their having 
first received the news, silenced their complaints." 

There were few men who viewed with greater indignation 
the encroachments of the British government upon the liber- 
ties of the people, or were more ready to resist them, than 
Mr. Morris. Nor did he hesitate to sacrifice his private in- 
terest for the public good, when occasion demanded it. This 


diBposidon was striking^ly manifested in the year 1765, at 
-which time he si^ed the non-importation agreement, entered 
into by the merchants of Philadelphia. The extensive mer- 
cantile concerns with England of the house of Mr. Morris, 
and the large importations of her manufactures and colonial 
produce by it, must have made this sacrifice considerable- 

The massacre at Lexington, April, 1775, seems to have de- 
cided the mind of Mr. Morris, as to the unalterable course 
which he would adopt in respect to England. The news of 
this measure reached Philadelphia four days after its occur- 
rence. Robert Morris, with a large company, were at this 
time engaged at the city tavern, in the celebration, on George's 
day, of their patron saint. The news was received by the 
company with the greatest surprise. The tables, at which 
they were dining, were immediately deserted. A few only 
of the members, among whom was Mr. Morris, remained. 
To these, indeed to all, who had been present, it was evident 
that the die was cast — ^that the Lexington measure was an 
event which must lead to a final separation from the British' 
government. Such an opinion Mr. Morris, at this time, ex- 
pressed ; he was willing it should take place, and from this 
time cordially entered into all the measures which seemed 
the most likely to efiect the object. 

On the third of November, 1775, Mr. Morris was elected, 
by the legislature of Pennsylvania, a delegate to the second 
congress that met at Philadelphia. " A few weeks after he 
had taken his seat, he was added to the secret committee of 
that body, which had been formed by a resolve of the pre- 
ceding congress, (1775,) and whose duty it was ' to contract 
for the importation of arms, ammunition, sulphur, and salt- 
petre, and to export produce on the public account, to pay 
for the same.' He was also appointed a member of the com- 
mittee for fitting out a naval armament, and specially com- 
missioned to negociate bills of' exchange for congress; to 
borrow money for the marine committee, and to manage the 
fiscal concerns of congress on other occasions. Independ- 
ently of his enthusiastic zeal in the cause of his country, his 
capacity for business, and knowledge of the subjects com- 


mitted to him, or hit talents for nanafpng pecuniary conr 
eemo, he was particularly fitted for aveh eenices ; as the 
eommerclal credit he had established among his fdlow- 
eittzens probably stood higher than that of any odier man m 
the community, and this he did not hesitate to avail himself 
of, whenever the public necessities reqtired such an evidence 
of his patriotism* 

A highly interesting illustration of this last remark, is 
furnished in the conduct of Mr. Morris in the December 
following the declaration of independence. For some time 
previous, the Britbh army had been directing its course to 
wards Philadelphia, from which congress had retired, leaving 
a committee, consisting of Mr. Morris, Mr. Clymer, and Mr. 
Walton, to transact all necessary continental business. 

While attending to the duties of their appointment, Mr. 
Morris received a letter from Gen. Washington, then with his 
army on the Delaware, opposite Trenton, in which letter he 
communicated to Mr. Morris his distressed state, in conse* 
quence of the want of money. The sum he needed was ten 
thousand dollars, which was essentially necessary to enable 
him to obtain such intelligence of the movement and position 
of the enemy, as would authorise him to act offensively. 
To Mr. Morris, Gen. Washington now looked, to assist him 
in raising the money. 

This letter he read with attention, but what could he do ? 
l^e citizens generally had left the city. He knew of no one, 
who possessed the required sum, or who would be willing to 
lend it The evening approached, and he left his counting* 
room to return home. On the way, he accidentally overtook 
an honest quaker, with whom he was acquainted. The qua- 
ker inquired of him the news. Mr. Morris replied, that he 
had but little news of importance to communicate, but he had 
a subject which pressed with great weight upon his mind. 
He now informed the quaker of the letter which he had re- 
ceived, the situation of General Washington, and the imme- 
diate necessity of ten thousand dollars. '*^," said Mr. 
Morris, '^ you must let me have it. My note and my honour 
will be your only security." The quaker hesitated a moment, 


but at length replied, '< Robert, thou shalt hare it.*' The 
money was soon told, was transmitted to Washington, whom 
it enabled to accomplish his wishes, and to gain a signal ric- 
tory over the Hessians at Trenton, thus animating the droop- 
ing spirits of patriotism, and checking in no small degree, 
the proud hopes and predictions of the enemy. 

Another instance of patriotic liberality is recorded of Mr. 
Morris in 1779, or 1780. These were distressing years of 
the war. The army was alarmingly destitute of military 
stores, particularly of the essential article of lead. It was 
found necessary to melt down the weights of clocks and the 
spouts of houses ; but, notwithstanding resort was had to 
erery possible source, the army was often so destitute, that it 
could scarcely hare fought a single battle. 

In this alarming state of things, General Washington 
wrote to several gentlemen, and among the rest to Judge 
Peters, at that time secretary to the board of war, stating his 
necessities, and urging an immediate exertion to supply the 

This it seemed impossible to do. Mr. Peters, however, 
showed the letter of Washington to Mr. Morris. Fortu- 
nately, just at this juncture, a privateer belonging to the lat- 
ter gentleman had arrived at the wharf, with ninety tons of 
lead. Half of this lead was immediately given by Mr. Mor- 
ris, for the use of the army, and the other half was purchas- 
ed by Mr. Peters of other gentlemen, who owned it, Mr. 
Morris becoming security for the payment of the debt. 
At a more advanced stage of the war, when pressing distress 
in the army had driven cqngress and the commander in chief 
almost to desperation, and a part of the troops to mutiny, 
he supplied the army with four or Are thousand barrels of 
flour upon his own private credit ; and on a promise to that 
effect, persuaded a member to withdraw an intended motion 
to sanction a procedure, which, although common in 'Europe, 
would have had a very injurious effect upon the cause of the 
country :• this was no less than to authorize General Wash- 
ington to seize all the provision that could be found, within a 
circle of twenty miles of his camp. While financier, his 

Holes constitiited, for large traasactioiis, part of tbe circ«Lla> 
ting medium. Many other similar instances occurred of tins 
patriotic interposition of his own personal responsitiUt^r for 
supplies which could not otherwise have been obtained. 

Allusion has been made above to the gloomy posture of 
affairs, during the year 1780 ; at this time the wants of tlae 
army, particularly of provisions, were so great, as to ^reaten 
its dissolution. This state of things, being communicated 
to Mr. Morris, he immediately proposed the establishmettt 
of a Bank, the principal object of which was, to supply tlie 
army with provisions. This plan becoming popular, ninety- 
six subscribers gave their bonds, on this occasion, by which 
they obliged themselves to pay, if it should become neces- 
sary, in gold and silver, the amounts annexed to their names, 
to fu^l the engagements of the Bank. By this means, the 
confidence of the public in tbe safety of the bank was con- 

Mr. Morris headed the list with a subscription of 10,OOOZ. ; 
others followed to the amount of 300,000Z. The directors 
were authoriased to borrow money on the credit of the bank, 
and to grant special notes, bearing interest at six per cent. 
The credit thus given to the bank effected the object in- 
tended, and the institution was continued until the bank of 
North America went into operation in the succeeding year. 
It was probably on this occasion, that he purchased the four 
or ^ve thousand barrels of flour, abovementioned, on his own 
credit, for the army, before the funds could be collected to 
pay for it." 

We have not yet spoken of the congressional career of 
Mr. Morris, nor is it necessary to delay the reader by a mi- 
nute account of the services which he rendered tbe country, 
in the national assembly. In this capacity, no one exhibited 
a more untiring zeal, none more cheerfully sacrificed ease and 
comfort than he did. He accomplished much by his active 
exertions, and perhaps not less by' the confidence which he 
uniformly manifested of ultimate success. The display of 
such confidence powerfully tended to rouse the despqnding, 
to fix the wavering, and confirm the brave. 


In another w&y, Mr. Morris contribnted to advance the 
patriotic cause* During the whole war* he maintained an 
extensive private correspondence with gentlemen in England 
by means of which he often received information of impor* 
tance to this country. ** These letters he read to a few select 
mercantile friends, who regularly met in the insurance room 
at die merchant's coffee house, and through them the intel- 
ligence they contained was difiused among the citizens, and 
thus kept alive the spirit of opposition, made them acquaint- 
ed vrith the gradual progress of hostile movements, and con- 
vinced them how little was to be expected from die govern- 
ment in respect to the alleviation of the oppression and hard- 
ships against which the colonies had for a long time most 
humbly, earnestly, and eloquently remonstrated. This prac- 
tice, which began previous to the suspension of the inter- 
course between the two countries, he continued during the 
war; and through the route of the continent, especially 
France apd Holland, he received for a while the despatches, 
which had formerly come directly from England." 

In the year 1781, Mr. Morris was appointed by congress, 
superintendant of finance, an office then for the first time 
established. This appointment was unanimous. Indeed it 
is highly probable that no other man in the country would 
have been competent to the task of managing such great 
concerns as it involved, or possessed, like himself, the happy 
expedient of raising supplies, or deservedly enjoyed more, 
if equal, public confidence among his fellow-citizens, for 
punctuality in the fulfilment of his engagements. 

Some idea may be formed of them, when it is known that 
he was required to examine into die state of the public debts, 
expenditures, and revenue ; to digest and report plans for 
improving and regulating the finances ; and for establishing 
order and economy in the expenditure of public money. To 
him was likewise committed the disposidon, management, 
and disbursement of all the loans received from the govern- 
ment of France, and various private persons in that country 
and Holland ; the sums of money received from the different 
states ; and of the public funds for every possible source ef 


expense for' the rapport of goTemmeiit, eivil, military, and 
nayal ; the procuring supplies of every description for tbe 
army and navy ; the entire management and direction of the 
pablie ships of war; the payment of all foreign debts; and 
the correspondence of our ministers at European courts, on 
subjects of finance. In short, the whole burden of the money 
operations of government was laid upon him. No man ever 
had more numerous concerns committed to his charge, and 
few tp greater amount ; and never did any one more faithful- 
ly discharge the various coi^plicated trusts with greater dis- 
patch, economy, or credit, than the subject of this sketch.'* 

Never was an appointment more judicious than the ap- 
pointment of Mr. Morris as financier of this country. At 
this time the treasury was more than two millions and a half 
in arrears, and the greater part of the debt was- of such a 
nature that the payment could not be avoided, or even de- 
layed, and therefore. Dr. Franklin, then our minister in 
France, was under the necessity of ordering back from Am- 
sterdam monies which had been sent thither for the purpose 
of being shipped to America. |f he had not taken this step, 
the bills of exchange drawn by order of congress must have 
been protested, and a vital stab giVen to the credit of the go- 
vernment in Europe. At home, the greatest public as well 
as private distress existed ; public credit had gone to wreck, 
and the enemy built their most sanguine hopes of overcoming 
us, upon this circumstance ; and the treasury was so much 
in arrears to the servants in the public offices, that many of 
them could not, without payment, perform their duties, but 
must have gone to jail for debts they had contracted to ena- 
ble them to live. To so low an ebb was the public treasury 
reduced, that some of th^ members of the board of war 
declared to Mr. Morris that they had not the means of send- 
ing an express to the army. The pressing distress for pro- 
vision among the troops, has already been mentioned. The 
paper bills of credit were sunk so low in value, as to require a 
burdensome mass of them to pay for an article of clothing*'' 

But the face of things soon began to change through the 
exertions of Mr. Morris. Without attempting to give the 



Ustory of his wise and judicious management, it will be suffi- 
cient to say^ in the language of an elegant historian of the 
American war, " certainly the Americans owed, and still owcy 
as much acknowledgment to the financial operations of Ro- 
bert Morris, as to the negociations of Benjamin Franklin, 
or even the arms of George Washington." 

To Mr. Morris, also, the country was indebted for the es- 
tablishment of the bank of North America, and for all the 
public benefits which resulted fr(»m that institution* By 
means of this, public credit was greatly re?iyed ; internal im- 
provements were promoted, and a general spring was given 
to trade. ** The circulating medium was greatly increased 
by the circulation of its notes, which being convertible at 
will into gold or silver, were universally received equal there- 
to, and commanded the most unbounded confidence. Hun- 
dreds availed themselves of the security afforded by the vaults 
of the bank, to deposit their cash, which, from the impossi- 
bility of investing it, had long been hid from the light ; and 
the constant current of deposits in the courde of trade, au- 
thorised the directors to increase their business and the 
amount of their issues, to a most unprecedented extent 
The consequence of this was, a speedy and most perceptible 
change in the state of afiairs, both public and private." 

We now come to an event, on account of the interest in 
which the name of Robert Morris should be remembered with 
gratitude by the American people, while republican AiAerica 
shall last. The campaign of 1781, respected the reduction 
of New-York ; this was agreed upon by Washington and the 
French general, Count Roehambeau, and it was expected that 
the French fleets, under De Barras and De Grasse, would 
co-operate. Judge the surprise when, on the arrival of the 
French fleet, it was announced to Washington, that the 
French admiral would not enter the bay of New-York, as 
was anticipated, but would enter and remain for a few weeks 
in the Chesapeake. 

This necessarily altered all the arrangements respecting the 
campaign. It was now obvious to Washington, that the re- 
daction of New-York would be impracticable. In this state 
21 21 


of UiingBf it u hiftted bj Dr. Metse, in his biogirpliietl 
tkeUh of Mr. Morris, in the Edinburgh Encyclopedia, to 
which article we are greatly indebted, that Mr. Morris sug- 
gested to Washington ihe attack on Comwallis, which pat a 
finishing stroke to the war. Whether this be so or not, cer- 
tain it is, that until the news was coromnnicated to Wash- 
ington, that the French fleet would not come into New-York 
bay, the project of a southern campaign had not been deter- 
mined upon by the commander in chief. But when, at length, 
it was determined upon, whether at the suggestion of Robert 
Morris or not, we are unable to say, it is certain that he pro- 
Tided the funds which enabled General Washington to move 
his army towards the south, and which led to the decisive 
battle which terminated the war. 

The length to which this article is already extended, for- 
bids any further account of the services of this distinguished 

** H adds not a litde, however," says Dr. Mease, ** to the 
merit of Mr. Morris, to be able to say, that notwithstanding 
his numerous engagements asa *ptblic or private character, 
their magnitude, and often perplexing nature, he was enabled 
to fulfil all the private duties which his high standing in so 
ciety necessarily imposed upon him. His house was the seat 
of elegant, but unostentatious hospitality, and he regulated 
his domestic affiiirs with the same admirable order which had 
so long proverbially distinguished his counting-house, and 
the offices of the secret committee of congress, and that of 
finance. The happy manner in which he conducted his offi- 
cial and domestic concerns, was owing, in the first cat^e, to 
his own superior talents for dispatch and method in busi- 
ness, and, in the last, to the qualifications of his excellent 
partner, the sister of the esteemed bishop of Pennsylvania, 
Dr. White. An introduction to Mr. Morris was a matter of 
course, witn all the strangers in good society, who, for half a 
century, visited Philadelphia, either on commercial, public, 
or private business ; and it Is not saying too much to assert, 
that during a certain period, it greatly depended upon him to 
do the honours of the city ; and certainly no one was more 


qualified, or more willing to support them. Although actire 
in the acquisition of wealth as a merchant, no one more free* 
Ay parted with his gains, for public or private purposes of a 
meritorious nature, whether these were to support the credit 
of the goyernment, to promote the objects ofnumanity, local 
improvement, the welfare of meritorious individuals in society, 
or a faithful commercial servant. The instances in which he 
shone on all these occasions were numerous. Some in refe- 
ference to the three former particulars, have been mentioned, 
and more of his disinterested generosity in respect to the last 
could be given, were the present intended to be any thing 
more than a hasty sketch. The prime of his life was enga- 
ged in discharging the most important civil trusts to his coun- 
try that could possibly fall to the lot of any man ; and mil* 
lions passed through his hands as a public officer, without the 
smallest breath of insinuation against his correctness, or of 
negligence amidst 'Uhe defaulters of unaccounted thousands/* 
or the losses sustained by the reprehensible carelessness of 
national agents. 

From the foregoing short statement, we may have some 
idea of the nature and magnitude of the services rendered by 
Mr. Morris to the United States. It may be truly said, that 
few men acted a more conspicuous or useful part; and when 
we recollect, that it was by his exertions and talents, that the 
United States were so often relieved from theirdifficulties, at 
times of great depression and pecuniary distress, an estimate 
may be formed of the weight of obligations due to him from 
the people of the present day. The length to which this ar- 
ticle is already extended, forbids any further particulars res- 
pecting this distinguished man. It may be proper to add, 
however, that the latter part of his life was rendered unhappy, 
by an unfortunate scheme of land speculation, in which he en- 
gaged, and by which his pecuniary afiairs became exceeding- 
ly embarrassed ; yet amidst his severest trials, he maintained 
a firmness and an independence of character, which in similar 
circumstances belong to but few. 

At length, through public labour, and private misfortune 


lus constitution was literally worn ont, and like a shock of 
com fully ripe, he came to his end on the 8th of May 1806i, 
in the seventy-third year of his age. 


Benjamin Rush was horn on the SMth of December, 1745, 
O. S. in the township of Byberry, twelve or fourteen miles 
northeast of Philadelphia* His ancestors emigrated from 
England to Pennsylvania, about the year 1683. 

The father of young Rush died when he was six years of 
age. The care of his education therefore devolved upon his 
mother, who well understood the importance of knowledge, 
and early took measures to give her son a liberal education. 
Young Rush was sent to the academy at Nottingham, in Ma- 
ryland, about sixty miles southeikst fr^m Philadelphia. This 
academy had long been conducted, with great reputation, by 
the Reverend Dr. Finley, afterwards president of Princeton 
college, in New-Jersey. 

Under the care of this excellent man, and among the peo- 
ple of Nottingham, who were remarkable for their simplicity, 
industry, morality, and religion, Rush spent five years, in ac- 
quiring a knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages. In 
this retired spot, and at this early age, he is said to have been 
deeply impressed with a reverence for religion, with the im- 
portance of a regular life, and of diligence, industry, and a 
punctual attention to business ; and in general, of such steady 
habits, as stamped a value on his character through life. The 
solid foundation which was thus laid for correct principles 
and an upright conduct, was chiefly the work of the learned 
and pious Dr. Finley. He was an accomplished instructor of 
youth. He trained his pupils for both worlds, having re- 
spect in all his intercourse with them, to their future, as well 
as present state of existence. 



After finishing his preparatory studies at Nottingham, he 
w^as entered in 1759» a student in the college of Princeton, 
then under the superintendence of President Davies. Such 
had heen his progress in his classical studies at Nottingham, 
that he obtained the degree of bachelor of arts in 1760, and 
before he had completed his fifteenth year. 

On leaving college, he commenced the study of medicine, 
under the direction of the eminent Dr. Redman, of Philadel- 
phia. He was also one of Dr. Shippen's ten pupils, who at- 
tended the first course of anatomical lectures given in this 
country. In 1766, he went to Edinburgh, where he spent 
two years at the university in that city, and from which he 
received the degree of M. D. in 1768. 

The next winter after his graduation he spent in London ; 
and the following spring having visited France, in the autumn 
of the same year he returned to Philadelphia, and commen- 
ced the practice of medicine. 

In 1769, he was elected professor of chemistry in the col- 
lege of Philadelphia. This addition to Drs. Shippen, Mor- 
gan, Kuhn, and Bond, who bsid begun to lecture a few years 
before, completed the varioutr departments, and fully organi- 
zed this first medical school in America. By a subsequent 
arrangement in 1791, the college was merged in a university, 
and Dr. Rush was appointed professor of the institutes and 
practiceK)f medicine, and of clinical practice, in the university 
of Pennsylvania. 

As a lecturer on chemistry, and a practitioner, Dr. Rush 
became deservedly popular. During his residence abroad, 
his professional attainments were much enlarged, and he was 
successful in introducing several valuable improvements. 
He was particularly attached to the system of depletion, and 
resorted to bleeding in many new cases. Next to the lancet, 
he used cathartics ; and upon these two remedies he chiefly 
depended for the cure of diseases. About the year 1790^ 
twenty years after Dr. Rush had been a practitioner, and 
professor of medicine, he began to publish his new principles 
of medicine. These were more or less developed by him i& 




hit fueceflsive annvial course of lectures, for the subsequeat 
t!)renty«three years of his life. 

It is not our province to settle the merits of that system, 
which Dr. Rush adopted. He applied his principles of medi- 
cine to the cure of consumptions, dropsies, hydrocephalus, 
apoplexy, gout, and other diseases of the body, and also to 
madness, and the diseases of the mind. He depended chiefly 
upon the lancet, and strongly urged the use of calomel, to 
which he gave the name of *' the Sampson of the Materia 

It was not to be expected that a system, in many respects 
so novel, should be adopted by every one. It had its strong 
opposers, and these opposers exist at the present day. They 
objected to the system of depletion, but agreed with Doctor 
Rush, that calomel was well entitled to the name of " Samp- 
son," not for the reason which he assigned, but '< because,* 
said they, *' it has slain its tkousands^ 

In the year 1793, Dr. Rush had an opportunity of apply- 
ing his principles, in the treatment of yellow fever. In that 
rear, Philadelphia was desolated by that tremendous scourge, 
aAer an interval of thirty-one years. The disease baffled the 
skill of the oldest and most judicious physicians ; and they 
differed about the nature, and the treatment of it '< This 
general calamity lasted for about one hundred days, extend- 
ing from July till November. The deaths in the whole of 
this distressing period, were four thousand and forty-four, 
or something more than thirty-eight each day, on an average. 
Whole families were confined by it. There was a great defi- 
ciency of nurses for the sick. There was likewise a great 
deficiency of physicians, from the desertion of some, and the 
sickness and death of others. At one time, there were but 
three physicians, who were able to do business out of their 
houses, and at this time there were probably not less than six 
tnousand persons ill with the fever." 

" A cheerful countenance was scarcely to be seen for six 
weeks. The streets every where discovered marks of the 
distress that pervaded the city. In walking for many hun- 
dred yards, few persons were met, except such as were in 


quest of a physician, a nurse, a bleeder, or the men who 
buried the dead. The hearse alone kept up the remembrance 
of the noise of carriages, or carts, in the streets. A black 
man leading or driving a horse, with a corpse, on a pair of 
chair wheels, met the eye in most of the streets of the city, at 
every hour of the day ; while the noise of the same wheels 
passing slowly over the pavement kept alive anguish and fear 
in the sick and well, every hour of the night." 

For some time after the commencement of the disease, all 
the physicians were nearly alike unsuccessful in the manage- 
ment of it. /At this time, Dr. Rush resorted to gentle evacu- 
ants as had been used in the yellow fever of 1762 ; but find- 
ing these unavailing, he applied himself to an investigation 
of the disease, by means of the authors who had written on 
the subject. He ransacked his library, and pored over every 
book which treated of the yellow fever. At length he took 
up a manuscript, which contained an Account of the disease, 
as it prevailed in Virginia, in 1741, and which was given to 
him by Dr. Franklin, and had been written by Dr. Mitchell of 
Virginia. In this manuscil|>t the propriety and necessity of 
powerful evacuants were stated and* urged, even in cases of 
extreme debility. 

These ideas led Dr. Rush to an alteration in his practice. 
He adopted the plan of Dr. Mitchell. He administered calo* 
mel and jalap combined, and had the happiness of curing four 
of the first Gye patients to whom he administered this medi- 
cine, notwithstanding some of them were advanced several 
days in the disease. 

*' After such a pledge of the safety and success of this new 
medicine," says Dr. Thatcher, in his biographical sketch of 
Dr. Rush, ** he communicated the prescription to such of the 
practitioners as he met in the streets. Some of them, he 
found, had been in the use of calomel for several days ; but as 
they had given it in single doses only, and had followed it by 
large doses of bark, wine, and laudanum, they had done little 
or no good with it. He imparted the prescription to the col- 
lege of physicians, on the third of September, and endeavour- 
ed to remove the fears of his fellow citizens, by assuring them 


that the disease was no longer incurable. The credit his 
prescription acquired, brought him an immense accession of 
business. It continued to be almost uniformly effectual^ in 
nearly all those cases which he was able to attend, either in 
person, or by his pupils. But he did not rely upon purges 
alone to cure the disease. The theory which he had adopted 
led him to use other remedies, to abstract excess of stimulus 
from the system. These were blood letting, cool air, cold 
drinks, low diet, and application of cold water to the body. 
He began by drawing a small quantity of blood at a time. 
The appearance of it when drawn, and its effects upon the 
system, satisfied him of its safety and efiicacy, and encouraged 
him to proceed. Never did he experience such sublime joy 
as he now felt, in contemplating the success of his remedies. 
It repaid him for all the toils and studies of his life. The 
conquest of this formidable disease was not the effect of acci- 
dent, nor of the application of a single remedy ; but it was 
the triumph of a principle in medicine. In this joyful state 
of mind, he entered in his note book, dated the 10th of Sep- 
tember, ' Thank God, out of one hundred patients whom 1 
have visited or prescribed for this day, I have lost none.' 

" Being unable to comply with the numerous demands 
which were made upon him, for the purging powders, not- 
withstanding he had employed three persons to assist his 
pupils in putting them up, and finding himself unable to at- 
tend all the persons who sent for him, he furnished the apo- 
thecaries with the receipt for the mercurial purges, together 
with printed directions forgiving them, and for the treatment 
of the disease. Had he consulted his own interest, he would 
silently have pursued his own plans of cure, with his old pa- 
tients, who still confided in him and his new remedies ; but 
he felt, at this season of universal distress, his professional 
obligations to all the citizens of Philadelphia, to be superior 
to private and personal considerations; and therefore de** 
termined, at every hazard, to do every thing in his power to 
save their lives. Under the influence of this disposition, he 
addressed a letter to the college of physicians, in which he 
stated his objections to Dr. Stevens^s remedies, and defended 


those be had recommended. He likewise defended them in 
the public papers, against the attacks that were made upon 
them by several of die physicians of the city, and occasion- 
ally addressed such advice to the citizens as experience had 
suggested to be useful to prevent the disease. In none of the 
recommendations of his remedies did he claim the credit of 
their discovery. On the contrary, he constantly endeavour 
ed to enforce their adoption by mentioning precedents in 
favour of their efficacy, from the highest authorities in medi 
cine. This controversy was encouraged merely to prevent 
the greater evil of the depopulation of Philadelphia, b3r*the 
use of remedies which had been prescribed by himself as 
well as others, not only without effect, but with evident inju 
ry to the sick. The repeated an^ numerous instances of 
their inefficacy, and the almost uniform success of the de- 
pleting remedies, after a while procured submission to the lat 
ter, from nearly all the persons who were affected by the 

'* Many whole families, consisting of five, six, and, in 
three instances, of nine ipembers, were recovered by plenti- 
ful purging and bleeding. These remedies were prescribed 
with great advantage by several of the physicians of the city 
But the use of them was not restricted to the physicians alone; 
the clergy, the apothecaries, many private citizens, several 
intelligent women, and two black men, prescribed them with 
great success. Nay, more, many persons prescribed them 


to themselves. It was owing to the almost universal use of 
these remedies, that the mortality of the disease diminished 
in proportion as the number of persons who were affected by 
it increased. It is probable that not less than six thousand 
of the inhabitants of Philadelphia were saved from death by 
bleeding and purging, during the autumn of 1793. 

** The credit which this new mode of treating the disease 
acquired in all parts of the city, produced an immense influx 
of patients to Dr. Rush. His pupils were constantly employ- 
ed at first in putting up purging powders, but after a while 
only in bleeding and visiting the sick. 

"Between the 8th and 15th of September, Dr. Rush visited 


tud prescribed for a hundred and a hundred and twenty X'^- 
tienta a day. In the short intervals of business, which he 
spent at his meals, his house was filled with patients, chief- 
ly the poor, waiting for adrice. For many weeks he sel- 
dom ate without prescribing for numbers as he sat at table. 
To assist him, three of his pupils, Mr. Stall, Mr. Fisher, 
and Mr. Cox, accepted of rooms in his house, and became 
members of his family. Their labours now had no re- 
nussion. He employed every moment in the interval of 
bis visits to the sick, in prescribing in his house for the 
poor, or in sending answers to messages from his patients. 
Unable to comply with the numerous applications that were 
made to him^ he was obliged to refuse many every day. 
His sister counted forty-seven applicants for medical aid 
turned off in one forenoon, before eleven o'clock. In 
riding through the streets, he was often forced to resist the 
entreaties of parents imploring a visit to their children, or of 
children to theiir parents. He was sometimes obliged to 
tear himself from persons who attempted to stop him, and to 
urge his way by driving his chair as speedily as possible be- 
yond the reach of their cries. While he was thus over- 
whelmed with business, and his own life endangered, without 
being able to answer the numerous calls made on him, he re- 
ceived letters from his friends in the country, pressing him, 
in the strongest terms, to leave the city. To one of these 
letters he replied, '^ that he had resolved to stick to his prin- 
ciples, his practice, and his patients, to the last extremity." 

The incessant labours of Dr. Rush, both of body and mind, 
during this awful visitation, nearly overpowered his health, 
and for a time his useful life was despaired of. By a timelf 
application of remedies, however, he was restored, and able 
to return to the duties of his profession. But ill health was 
not the only evil he suffered, as the consequence of his ac- 
tivity, during the prevalence of the yellow fever in Philadel- 
phia. His mode of treatment was called in question by many 
of his contemporaries, notwithstanding the great success 
which attended it. At length the prejudices against him io» 
fected not only physicians, but a considerable - part of the 


community. The public journals were enlisted against hinii 
and in numerous pamphlets his system was attacked with 
great severity. He was even Cjalled a murderer, and was at 
length threatened to be prosecuted and expelled the city. 

The benefactors of mankind have not unfrequently been 
treated in a similar manner. They suffer for a time ; but 
justice is at length done them. Dr. Harvey, as a conse- 
quence of publishing his account of the circulation of the 
blood, lost his practice ; and the great Dr. Sydenham suffered 
in a similar manner, for introducing depleting medicine in 
eases of inflammatory fevers. On the termination of the fever 
in Philadelphia, a motion was made in a public meeting of 
the citizens in that city, to thank the physicians for their ser- 
vices during the prevalence of the fever, but no one would 
second it This was high ingratitude, and especially when 
it is considered that eight out of thirty-flve of the physicians, 
who continued in the city, died; and of those who remained, 
but three escaped the fever. 

Notwithstanding the great labours of Dr. Rush as a lec- 
turer and practitioner, he was a voluminous writer. His 
printed works consisted of seven volumes, six of which treat 
of medical subjects. One is a collection of essays, literary, 
moral, and philosophical. It is a matter of wonder how a 
physician, who had so many patients to attend — a professor, 
who had so many pupils to instruct — could find leisure to 
write so much, and at the same time so well. Our wonder 
will cease, when it is known that he suffered no fragments of 
Hme to be wasted, and that he improved every opportunity 
of acquiring knowledge, and used all practicable means for 
retailing and digesting what he had acquired. In his early 
youth he had the best instructors, and in every period of his 
life, great opportunities for mental improvement. He was 
gifted from heaven with a lively imagination, a retentive me- 
mory, a discriminating judgment, and he made the most of 
all these advantages. From boyhood till his last sickness* 
he was a constant and an indefatigable student He read 
much, but thought more. His mind was constantly en- 
grossed with at least one literary inquiry, to which, for the 


doMt he derotad his undivided attention. To make 
master of that subject, he read, he meditated, he conirersed. 
It was less his custom to read a book through, than to reaa 
as much of all the authors within his reach as bore on the sub- 
ject of his present inquiry. His active mind brooded over 
the materials thus collected, compared his ideas, and traced 
their relations to each other, and from the whole drew his 
own conclusions. In these, and similar mental exercises, be 
was habitually and almost constantly employed, and daily 
Aggi'cg*^^ ^^^ multiplied his intellectual stores. In this 
manner his sound judgment was led to form those new com- 
binations, which constitute principles in science. He formed 
acquaintances with his literary fellow-citizens, and all wdl 
informed strangers, who visited Philadelphia; and drew from 
them every atom of information he could obtain, by conyer- 
sing on the subjects with which they were best acquainted. 
He extracted so largely from the magazine of knowledge 
deposited in the expanded mind of Dr. Franklin, that he 
once mentioned to a friend, his intention to write a book with 
the title of Frankliniana, in which he proposed to collect the 
fragments of wisdom, which he had treasured in his memory, 
as they fell in conversation from the lips of this great ori- 
ginal genius. To Dr. Rush, every place was a school, every 
one with whom he conversed was a tutor. He vms never 
without a book, for, when he had no other, the book of nature 
was before him, and enghged his attention. In his lectures 
to his pupils, he advised them, * to lay every person they 
met with, whether in a packet boat, a stage wagon, or a 
public road, under contribution for facts on physical sub- 
jects.' What the professor recommended to them, he prac- 
tised himself. His eyes and ears were open to see, hesr, 
and profit by every occurrence. The facts he received 
from persons of all capacities he improved to some valuable 
purpose. lie illustrates one of his medical theories by a iact 
communicated by a butcher; another from an observation 
made by a madman, in the Pennsylvania Hospital. In his 
scientific work on the diseases of the mind, he refers fre- 
quently to poets, and particularly to Shakspeare, to illustrafia 


the history of madness, and apologises for it in the foSowilig 
words. * They (poets) view the human mind in all its opera- 
tions, whether natural or morhid, with a microscopic eye, 
and hence many things arrest their attention^, which escape 
the notice of physicians.' It may be useful to students to 
be informed, that Dr. Rush constantly kept by him a note 
book, consisting of two parts, in one of which hf entered 
&cts as they occurred ; in the other, ideas and observations, 
as they arose in his own mind, or were suggested by others 
in conversation. His mind was under such complete dis- 
cipline, that he could read or write with perfect composure, 
in the midst of the noise of his children, the conversation 
of his family, and the common interrogatories of his visiting 
patients. A very moderate proportion of his time was devo- 
ted to sleep, and much less to the pleasures of the table. In 
the latter case, sittings were never prolonged, but in conver- 
sation on useful subjects, and for purposes totally distinct 
from the gratifications of appetite. In the course of nearly 
seventy years spent in this manner, he acquired a sum of 
useful practical knowledge that has rarely been attained by 
one man, in any age or country." 

Medical inquiries were the primary objects of Dr. Rush's 
attention ; yet he by no means neglected other branches of 
knowledge. In the earlier part of his life, he paid great 
attention to politics. The subjects of a political character, 
which chiefly engrossed his mind, were the independence of 
his country, the establishment of wise constitutions for the 
states generally, and for his own state particularly, and the 
difiusion of knowledge among the American people. On 
these subjects he usefully employed his pen in numerous 
essays, which were published under a variety of names. 

This political knowledge, and political integrity, were so 
well appreciated, that sundry offices were conferred upon 
him. He was a member of the celebrated congress of 1776, 
which declared these states free and independent. This 
event Dr. Rush perceived to be the hiarlNinger of important 
blessings to the American people#^ He was not one of those 
who thought so much of commerce, of the influx of richesy 




or liigh mik tmong the nations. These, indeed,, he weH 
knew were consequences which would result from the decla- 
ration of independence. Bot these he Tiewed as a minor 
consideration, compared with the increase of talents and know- 
ledge. The progress of eloquence, of science, and of mind, 
in all its Tarions pnrsnits, was considered hf him as the ne- 
cessary efiect of republican constitutions, and in the pro- 
spect of them he rejoiced. Nor was he disappointed ; for in 
a lecture, deliyered in November, 1799, he observes : ^^from 
a strict attention to the state of mind in this country, before the 
year 1T74, and at the present time, I am satisfied the ratio of 
intellect is as twenty are to one, and of knowledge as a hl^n- 
dred are to one, in these states, compared with what they 
were before the American revolution.'' 

In 1T77, he was appointed physician general of the military 
hospital in the middle department, sometime after which he 
published his observations on our hospitals, army cKseases, 
and the effects of the revolution on the army and people. 

In 17B7, he became a member of the convention of Penn- 
sylvania for the adoption of the federal constitution. This 
constitution received his warmest approbation. He pro- 
nounced the federal government a masterpiece of human 
wisdom. From it he anticipated a degree of felicity to the 
American people which they have not, and probaMy never 
will, experience. 

For the last fourteen years of his life, he was treasurer for 
the United States mint, by appointment of President Adams ; 
an office which was conferred upon him, as a homage to his 
talents and leafrning, and by means of which something was 
added to his revenue. 

Dr. Rush took a deep interest in the many private associa- 
tions, for the advancement of human happiness, with which 
'Pennsylvania abounds. In the establishment of the Phila- 
delphia Dispensary, the first institution of the kind in the 
United States, he led the way. He was the principal agent 
in founding Diekinaon College, in Carlisle ; and through bis ' 
influence^ llie Rev. Dr. Nisbet, of Montrose, in Scotland, was 
induced torsttHxre t» Ameriea to fake charge of it; For some 


yM», he was preddeat of the society for tfa^ abolition of dit* 
•very, and, also, of the Philadelphia Medleal Societj. He was 
« Ibvnder of the Philadelphia BibleSociety, and one of its vice- 
iweeidents, and a vice-president of the American Philosophical 
Society. He was an honorary member o£ many of the literary 
ittstitations, both of thia country and of Europe. In 1805, he 
wms honoured by the king t>f Prussia, with a medal, for his re- 
iplies to certain questions on the yeOow fever. On a similar 
account, he was presented with a gold medal in 1807, from the 
4|aeeii of Etruria; and in 1811, the Emperor of Russia sent 
him a diamond ring, as a testimony of his respect for his me- 
4lieal character. 

Dr. Rush was a public writer for forty*nine years, and 
fnlm the nineteenth to the sixty-eighth year of his age. His 
vorks, which were quite numerous, show much reading, deep 
investigation, and tried experience. He seems to have con^- 
bined the most useful in physical science, with the most ele- 
gant in literature. Instead of being a mere collator of the 
opinions of others, he was constantly making discoveries and 
improvements of his own ; and from the result of his indivi- 
dual experience and observation, established more principles, 
and added more facts to the science of medicine, than all who 
•had preceded him in his native country. The tendency of all 
his writings was decidedly good. 

He powerfully, and to some extent successfully, employed 
his pen against some of the habits and vices of mankind. His 
•* Inquiry into the effects of ardent spirits upon the human 
body and mind," has been more read than any of his works. 
All the medical philosophy that was pertinent to the subject, 
was incorporated with it Striking descriptions of the per- 
sonal and family distress occasioned by that vice, and of its 
havoc on the minds, bodies and estates of its unhappy votaries, 
were given, and the means of prevention and cure pointed 
out. The whole was illustrated by a scale, graduated like a 
thermometer, showing at one view the effects of certain 
enumera^d liquors on the body, the mind, and the condition 
in society of those who are addicted to them. In the last 
year of Dr. Rush's life, he presented to the general assembly 


of the Presbjrterian church in the United Stat»^ , yae thoueand 
copies of this popular pamphlet, to be giren avra j among tho 
people of their respective congregations. About the same 
time, that numerous and respectable body passed a resolution, 
enjoining on their members to exert themselyes in counter* 
acting this ruinous rice. 

In his *' Obsenrations upon the influence of the habitodi 
use of tobacco upon health, morals, and property," Dr. Rudi 
employed his eloquent pen in dissuading from practices, 
which insensibly grow into habits productive of many unfore- 
seen evUs. 

Dr. Rush was a great practical physician. In the treat* 
ment of diseases he was eminently successful, and in descri- 
bing their symptoms and explaining their causes, he was un- 
commonly accurate. Nor is this matter of wonder, for he 
was minutely acquainted with the histories of diseases of all 
ages, countries, and occupations. The annals of Biedicine 
cannot produce an accouut of any great epidemic disease, 
that has visited our earth, in any age, or country, which is 
more minute, accurate, and completely satisfactory, than Dr. 
Rush's description of the yellow fever of 1793, in Philadel- 
phia. Had he never written another line, this alone would 
have immortalized his name. He was a physician of no 
common cast. His prescriptions were not confined to doses 
of medicine, but to the regulation of the diet, air, dress, exer- 
cise, and mental actions of his patients, so as to prevent 
disease, and to make healthy men and women from invalids. 
His pre-eminence as a physician, over so many of his contem 
poraries, arose from the following circumstances : 

He carefully studied the climate in which he lived, and the 
symptoms of acute and chronic diseases therein prevalent; 
the different habits and constitutions of his patients, and 
varied his prescriptions with their strength, age, and sex. 

He marked the influence of different seasons, upon the 
same disease ; and varied his practice accordingly. He obser- 
ved and recorded the influence of successive epidemic dis- 
eases upon each other, and the hurtful as well as salutary 
effects of his remedies, and thereby acquired a knowledge ol 


the character of the reigning disease in every successive sea* 
son. His motes and records of the diseases, which have taken 
place in Philadelphia for the last forty-four years, must he 
o£ incalculable value to such as may have access to them. In 
attendance upon patients. Dr. Rush's manner was so gentle 
and sympathising, that pain and distress were less poignant in 
his presence. On all occasions he exhibited the manners of 
a gentleman, and his conversation was sprightly, pleasant, 
Bnd instructive. His letters were peculiarly excellent ; for 
they were dictated by a feeling heart, and adorned with the 
efiusions of a brilliant imagination. His correspondence 
was extensive, and his letters numerous ; but every one of 
them, as far as can be known to an individual, contained 
something original, pleasant, and sprightly^ I can truly say, re- 
marks Dr. Ramsay, that in the course of thirty-five years' cor- 
respondence and friendly intercourse^, I never received a let 
ter from him without being delighted and improved ; nor left 
his company without learning something* His observations 
were often original, and when otherwise, far from insi{Hd : 
fat he had an uncommon way of expressing common thoughts* 
He possessed in a high degree those talents which engage the 
heart. He took so lively an interest in every thing that 
concerned his pupils, that each of them believed himself a 
favourite, while his kind offices to all proved that he was the 
common friend and father of them all. ' 

In lecturing to his class. Dr. Rush mingled the most ab- 
struse investigation with the most agreeable eloquence ; the 
sprightliest sallies of imagination, with the most profound dis- 
quisitions ; and the whole was enlivened with anecdotes, both 
pleasant and instructive. His language was simple and al- 
ways int^ligible, and his method so judicious, that a consistent 
view of the subject was communicated, and the recollection 
of the whole rendered easy. His lectures were originally 
written on leaves alternately blank. On the blank side he 
entered from time to time, every new fact, idea, anecdote, or 
illustration, that he became possessed of^ from any source 
whatever. In the course of about four years, the blank was 
genemUy so far filled up, that he found it expedient to make 
2L 22* 



a new set of lectures. In this way he not only enlightened 
the various subjects, on which it was his pronnce to instruct 
hb class ; but the light which he cast on them, for forty-four 
snccessiTe years, was continually brightening. The instruc- 
tions he gave to his pupils by lectures, though highly valua- 
ble, were less so than the habits of thinking and observation 
he, in some degree, forced upon them. His constant aim was 
to rouse their minds from a passive to an acdve state, so as 
to enable them to instruct themselves. Since the first insti- 
tution of the medical school in Pennsylvania, its capital, 
Philadelphia, has been the very atmosphere of medicine, and 
that atmosphere has been constantly clearing from the fogs 
of error, and becoming more luminous from the successive 
and increasing difiiision of the light of truth. A portion of 
knowledge floated about that hallowed spot, which was im* 
bibed by every student, without his being conscious of it, 
and had an influence in giving to his mind a medical texture* 
To this happy state of things all the professors contributed. 
Drs. Wistar, Barton, Physick, Dorsey, Coze, and James, the 
survivors of that illustrious and meritorious body, will ac- 
knowledge that their colleague. Professor Rush, was not de- 
ficient in his quota. 

We have hitherto viewed Dr. Rush as an author, a physi- 
cian, a professor, and a philosopher ; let us now view him as 
a man. From him wc may learn to be good, as well as great. 
Such was the force of pious example and religious education 
in the first fifteen years of his life, that though he spent the en- 
suing nine in Philadelphia, Edinburgh, London, and Paris, ex- 
posed to the manifold temptations which are inseparable from 
great cities, yet he returned, at the age of twenty-four, to his na- 
tive country, with unsullied purity of morals. The sneers of in- 
fidels, and the fascinations of pleasure, had no power to divert 
him from the correct principles and virtuous habits which had 
been ingrafted on his mind in early youth. He came home 
from his travels with no excessive attachment but to his books ; 
no other ambition than that of being a great scholar ; and with- 
out any desire of making a stepping-stone of his talents and 
education, to procure for him the means of settling down in 


iaglorioiu ease, without the farther cultivation and exertion of 
his talents. In a conversation which he held with Dr. Ran^ 
say, tjiirty-five years ago, Dr. Rush observed, that as he step* 
ped from the ship that brought him home from Europe, he 
resolved that *^ no circumstances of personal charms, fortune, 
or connexions, should tempt him to perpetrate matrimony, 
(his own phrase,) till he had extended his studies so far that a 
family would be no impediment to his farther progress."' To 
this resolution of sacrificing every gratification to his love 
for learning, and his desire of making a distinguished figure 
in the republic of letters, he steadily adhered. For thb he 
trimmed the midnight lamp ; for this, though young, gay, 
elegant in person and manners, and possessed of the most in- 
sinuating address, he kept aloof from all scenes of dissipation, 
enervating pleasure, and unprofitable company, however 
fashionable ; and devoted himself exclusively to the cultiva- 
tion of those powers which God had given him. 

Piety to God was an eminent trait in the character of Dr 
Rush. In all his printed works, and in all his private trans- 
actions, he expressed the most profound respect and venera- 
tion for the great Eternal. At the close of his excellent ob- 
servations on the pulmonary consumption, he observes, " I 
cannot conclude this inquiry without adding, that the author 
of it derived from his paternal ancestors a predisposition to 
pulmonary consumption ; and that, between the eighteenth 
and forty-third year of his age, he has occasionally been af- 
flicted with many of the symptoms of that disease which he 
has described. By the constant and faithfiil use of many of 
the remedies which he has now recommended, he now, in 
the sixty-first year of his age, enjoys nearly an uninterrupted 
exemption from pulmonary complaints* In humbly gratitude, 
therefore, to that Being who condescends to be called the 
* preserver of men,' he thus publicly devotes the result of his 
experience and inquiries to the benefit of such of his fellow 
creatures as may be afilicted with the same disease, sincerely 
wishing that they may be as useful to them as they have been 
to the author." 

It was not only by words, but in deeds, that he expressed 



his rererenee for the Divine character. It was his mnal prmc* 
tice to cloae the day by reading to his collected family a 
chapter in the Bible, and afterwards by addressing his Maker 
in prayer, devoatly acknowledging his goodness for favours 
received, and humbly i^loring his continited protection aod 
blessing. His respect for Jehovah, led him to respect his 
ministers, who acted consistently with their high calling. He 
considered their office of the greatest importance to society, 
both in this world and that which is to come. He stiengthen- 
ed their hands, and was always ready and willing to promote 
and encourage arrangements for their comfortable support, 
and for building churches, and for propagating the gospel 
In an address to ministers of every denomination, on subjects 
interesting to morals, he remarks, *^ If there were no here- 
after, individuals and societies would be great gainers by at- 
tending public worship every Sunday. Rest from labour in 
the house of God winds up the machine of both soul and 
body better than any thing else, and thereby invigorates it 
for the labours and duties of the ensuing week.'' Dr. Rush 
made his first essay as an author, when an apprentice to Dr. 
Redman, by writing an eulogy on the Rev. Gilbert Tennent, 
who had been the friend and fellow labourer of the celebrated 
George Whitfield, and an active, useful, animated preacher 
of the gospel, from 1725 till 1764. On the 27th of May, 
1809, he wrote to his cousin. Dr. I^nley, to this effect : ^' The 
general assembly of the presbyterian church is now in ses- 
sion in Philadelphia. It is composed of many excellent men, 
some of whom are Itighly distinguished by talents and learu • 
ing, as well as piety. I have had some pleasant visits from u 
number of them, and hav^^been amply rewarded for my ci- 
vilities to thiem, by theiragreeable and edifying conversatioo. 
Tliey remind me of the hapf)y times when their places in the 
church were filled by yyur venerable father, and his illus- 
trious contemporaries and friends, Messrs. Tennent, Blair, 
Davies, and RcSlgers." 

' The life of Dr. Rush was terminated on the 19th of April, 
in the 68th year of his age. During his illness, which was 
of but few days continuance, his house was beset with crowds 


of citizens, such was the general anxiety in respect to the lifisii 
of this excellent man. When, at length, he died, the news 
of hi^ decease spread a deep gloom over the city, and ex- 
pressions of profound sympathy were received from all parts 
of the country. ^^ 


' Benjamin Franklin was born at Boston, on the 17th of 
January, 1706. His ancestors were from the county of 
Northampton, in England, where* they had for many genera- 
tions possessed a small freehold estate, near the village of 
Eaton. During the persecutions in the reign of Charles II., 
against the puritans, the father of Benjamin, who was of 
that persuasion, emigrated to America, and settling in Bos- 
ton, had recourse for a livelihood to the business of a chan- 
dler and soap boiler. His mother's name was Folger. She 
was a native of Boston, and belonged to a respectable family. 

At an early age, young Franklin discovered, as his parents 
thought, a more than ordinary genius ; and they resolved to 
give him an education, with reference to the profession of a 
clergyman. Accordingly, he was placed at a grammar school, 
where he soon attained the reputation of a lad of industrious 
habits, and respectable genius. 

His parents, however, at the expiration of a year, found 
that their slender revenues would not admit of the expense of 
'coUegiate instruction. He was, therefore, soon^fter taken 
home to prosecute the business of his father. In this occu- 
pation he was employed for two yearis, but it was ill adapted 
to his constitution, and he felt unwilling to continue cutting 
wicks for candles, filling moulds, and running trf errands. He 
became uneasy, and at length resolved to embark on a sea- 
faring life. To such a proposition, however, his parents 
strongly objected, as they had already lost a son at sea. H% 

WM permiltedt howwetf to change hb bimnesst and attowvd 
to ehoose an oeenpation which was more c^n^seaial to his ii^ 

Hit fondness for books had* firom an early age, been singu- 
htrly great. He read every thing within his reach* His ib- 
ther's library was itself scanty, being confined to a few such 
works as Defoe's Essay upon Projects, Mather's Essay on 
doing Good, and the Lives of Plutarch. These he pemsed 
with great attention, and they appear to have exercised a &- 
vourable influence on his mind. His love of books waa fre- 
quently noticed by his father, who, at length, proposed to 
bind him as an apprentice to an elder brother, who was at 
that time a printer of a newspaper in Boston. He was ac* 
cordingly thus situated, in the year 1717, when he was scarce- 
ly twelve years of age. He soon became a proficient in Uie 
mechanical part of the business, and seized every opportuni- 
ty for reading books that he could borrow from his acquaint- 
ance, in which employment he spent the greater part of his 
nights. He soon began to indulge himself in writing ballads 
and other poetical pieces ; but, it is said, that his father spee- 
dily satisfied him that this was not the species of composition 
in which he could excel. His next efforts were directed to 
prose composition, in which his success is well known, and 
duly appreciated. With a passion for reading and writing, 
he imbibed a kindred one for disputation ; and adopting the 
Socratic method, he became dexterous in confuting and con- 
founding an antagonist, by a series of questions. This 
course gave him a sceptical turn with regard to religion, and 
while he was young he took every opportunity of propagating 
his tenets, and with the ordinary zeal of a new convert. He 
was, however, soon convinced, by the effect produced on 
some of his companions, ftiaX it was extremely dangerous to 
loosen the ties of religion, without the probability of substi- 
tuting other principles equally efficacious. The doubts 
which subsisted in his own mind, Ke was never able to re- 
move ; but he was not deficient in fortifying himself with 
such moral principles as directed him to the most valuable 
ends, by honourable means. By habits of self-denial, early 


fos*»i«d, he obteffied a eomplete dominion over his appetttes, 
so tiiftt, at the age of sixteen, he readily discarded animal 
food, from the conviction produced in his mind bjr perusing a 
w^Yk etk the subject, that he should enjoy a more rigorous 
slaate of heakk without it. He now ^offered bis brother to 
maifitun himself, for half the sum paid for his board; and 
ereB with this he was able to make savings to purchase wiiat 
boofaa he wanted. In his brother, he found a harsh master, 
and Benjamin felt indignant at the treatment which he ex- 
perienced from him in the way of business. His brother had 
established a newspaper, in which the apprentice contrived 
to insert some papers and. essays anonymously. These were 
read and highly commended by people o£ the best judgment 
and taite in the town. The young man began now to feel 
his importance, which was still more impressed on him by. 
having the paper published in his own name, that of hia 
brother, for some political offence, having been interdicted 
by the state. 

On the release of his brother, who had for some tune been 
imprisoned for the above political offence, Franklin was treat<- 
ed by him with so much severity, that at length he determin- 
ed to leave him. His indentures haring before this been can*- 
c^led, he secretly went on board of a vessel, bound to New- 
York, in which he took passage for that city. After a few 
days spent in New-York, having sought in vain to procure 
• business, he proceeded on foot to Philadelphia, where he 
at length arrived, fatigued and destitute of all means of sup- 
port. He was now but seventeen years of age, at the dis- 
tance of four hundred miles from home, nearly pennyless, 
without employment, without a counsellor, and unacquainted 
with a single person in the city. 

The day following his arrival he wandered through the 
streets of Philadelphia with an appearance little short of a 
beggar. His pockets were distended by his clothes, which 
were crowded into them ; and provided with a roll of. bread 
under each arm, he proceeded through the principal streets 
of the city. His uncouth appearance attracted the notice of 
several of the citizens, and among others of a Miss Reed* 


who afterwards became his wife, and by whom, as he paseed 
along, he was thought to present a very awkward and ridieibi^, 
7ous appearance. 

There were at this time but two printing offices in Phila- 
d^phia. Fortmiately, in one of these he found employment 
as compositor. His conduct was very becoming ; he was ati- 
tentive to business, and economical in his expenses. His 
fidelity not only commended him to his master, but was no* 
ticed by several respectable citizens, who promised him their 
patronage and support 

Among others, who took much notice of him, was Sir Wi]« 
liam Keith, at that time governor of the province. The go- 
vernor having become acquainted with the history of his re* 
cent adventures, professed a deep interest in his welfare, and 
at length proposed that he should commence business on his 
own account ; at the same time, promising to aid him with 
his influence and that of his friends, and to give him the 
printing of the government. Moreover, the governor urged 
him to return to Boston, to solicit the concurrence and as« 
sistance of his father. At the same time, he gave him a let- 
ter to that gentleman, replete with assurances of aflection, 
and promises of support to the son. 

With this object in view, he sailed for Boston, and at 
length, after an absence of several months, he again entered 
his father's house. He was affectionately received by the 
family. To his father he communicated tlie letter of Go* 
vemor Keith, which explained the object of his return. His 
father, however, judiciously advised him, on account of youth 
and inexperience, to relinquish the project of setting up a 
{Hinting office, and wrote to this effect to his patron, Crovern- 
or Keith. Having determined to follow the advice of his 
father, he returned to Philadelphia, and again entering the 
employment of his former master, pursued his business with 
Ills usual assiduous attention. 

Governor Keith, on learning the advice and decision of 
Franklin's father, offered himself to furnish the necessary 
materials for a printing establishment, and proposed to Frank- 
lin to make a voyage to England to procure them. This pro- 

posftl FranUiii readily accepted, and wkh fratiiude to his 
l^eaaeroiis benefacior, he sailed ^r England in 17S^ accom* 
panied by his friend Ralph, one of his literary aasociatet in 

Before his departure, he exchanged promises of fidelity 
with Miss Reed of Philadelphia, with whose father he had 
lodged. Upon his arrival in London, Mr. Franklin fsund 
that Governor Keith, upon whose letters of credit and re« 
commendation he relied, had entirely deceived him. He 
was now obliged to work as a journeyman printer, and ob* 
tained employment in an office in Bartholomew-close. His 
friend Ralph did not 90 readily find the means of subsist* 
enee, and was a constant dndn upon the earnings of Frank* 
Bn. In that great city, the morals of the young travellers 
were not much improved ; Ralph forgot, or acted as if he 
had forgotten, that he had a wife and child across the Atlan* 
tic ; and Franklin was equally forgetful of his promises and 
engagements to Miss Reed. About this period he published, 
**A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and 
Pain," dedicated to Ralph, and intended as an answer to 
WoUaston's '' Religion of Nature." This piece gained for 
him some degree of reputation, and introduced him to the 
acquaintance of Dr. Mandeville, author of the ^' Fable of the 
Bees," and some other literary characters Franklin was 
always temperate and industrious, and his habits in this 
respect were eventually the means of securing his morals, 
as well as of raising his fortune. In the interesting account 
which he has left of his own life, is a narrative of the method 
which he took in reforming the sottish habits of his fellow- 
workmen in the second printing office in which he was 
engaged in London, and which was situated in the neighbour- 
hood of Lincoln's-inn-fields. He tried to persuade them 
that there was more real sustenance in a penny roll, than in a 
pint of porter; at first, the plan of economy which he pro- 
posed was treated with contempt or ridicule ; but in the end 
he was able to induce several of them to substitute a warm 
and nourishing breakfast, in the place of stimulating Uquors. 

Bhving resided about a year and a half in Londont he 
2M 23 


concerted a scheme with an acquaintance, to make the -tour 
of Europe. At this juncture, however, he fell in eompany 
with a mercantile friend, who was about returning home to 
Philadelphia, and who now persuaded Franklin to abandon 
his project of an eastern tour, and to enter his service in the 
capacity of a clerk. On the 22d of July, 1726, they set sail 
for Philadelphia, where they arrived the 11th of October. 

The prospects of Franklin were now brighter. He was 
attached to his new adopted profession, and by his assiduous 
attention to business gained the confidence of his employer 
so much, that he was about to be commissioned as supercargo 
to the West Indies, when of a sudden his patron died, by 
which, not only his fair prospects were blighted, but he was 
once more thrown out of all employment 

He had, however, one resource, and that was a return to 
the business of printing, in the service of his former master. 
At length, he became superintendant of the printing office 
where he worked, and finding himself able to manage the 
concern with some skill and profit, he resolved to embark in 
business for himself. He entered into partnership with a 
fellow-workman, named Meredith, whose friends were ena- 
bled to furnish a supply of money sufficient for the concern, 
which was no doubt very small ; for Franklin has recorded 
the high degree of pleasure, which he experienced from a 
payment of five shillings only, the first fruits of their earn- 
ings. ''The recollection," says this noble spirited man, 
" of what I felt on this occasion, has rendered me more dis- 
posed, than perhaps I might otherwise have been, to encour- 
age young beginners in trade." His habitual industry and 
undeviating punctuality, obtfiined him the notice and business 
of the principal people in the place. He instituted a club 
\inder the name of '' the Junto," for the purpose of the dis- 
cussion of political and philosophical questions, which proved 
an excellent school for the mutual improvement of its several 
members. The test proposed to every candidate, before his 
aamission, was this ; '' Do you sincerely declare that you 
love mankind in general, of what profession or religion so- 
ever ? Do you think any person ought to be harmed in his 


body, name, or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his 
external way of worship ? Do you love truth for truth's sake ; 
and will you endeavour impartially to fipd and receive it 
yourself, and communicate it to others." Mr. Franklin and 
his partner ventured to set up a new puhlic paper, which his 
own efforts as writer and printer caused to succeed, and, they 
obtained likewise the printing of the votes and laws of the 
assembly. In process of time, Meredith withdrew from the 
partnership, and Franklin met with friends, who enabled him 
to undertake the whole concern in his own name, and add to 
it the business of a stationer. 

In 1730, he married the lady to whom he was engaged be- 
fore his departure for England. During his absence he for- 
got his promises to her, and on his return to America, be 
found her the wife of another man. Although a woman of 
many virtues, she suffered from the unkindness of her hus- 
band, who, fortunately for her, lived but a short time. Not 
long after his death, Franklin again visited her, soon after 
which they were married, and for many years lived in the 
full enjoyment of connubial peace and harmony. 

In 1732, he began to publish ** Poor Richard's Almanac," 
a work which was continued for twenty-five years, and which, 
besides answering the purposes of a calendar, contained 
many excellent prudential maxims, which were of great 
utility to that class of the community, who by their poverty 
or laborious occupations, were deprived of the advantages 
of education. Ten thousand copies of this almanac are 
said to have been published every year» in America. The 
maxims contained in it, were from time to time republished 
both in Great Britain, and on the continent 

The political course of Franklin began in the year 1736, wh^n 
he was appointed clerk to the general assembly of Fennsyli 
vania ; an office which he held for several years, until he was, 
at length, elected a representative. During the same year, 
he assisted in the establishment of the American Philosophi- 
cal Society, and of a college, which now exists under the title 
of the University of Pennsylvania. In the following year he 
was appointed to the valuable office qf post-master of Phila« 


delphift. In 1738 he improred the police of ihe city, in 
ipect to the dreadful calamity' of fire, by forming a society 
called a iire compan j*, to which was afterwards added an aa* 
snrance office, against losses by fire. 

In 1742 he published his treatise upon the improTement 
of chimnies, and at the same time contrived a stoye, which 
is in extensire use at the present day. 

In the French war of 1744, he proposed a plan of volua- 
taiy association for the defence of the country. This was 
shortly joined by ten thousand persons, who were trained to 
the use and exercise of arms. Franklin was chosen colonel 
of the Philadelphia regiment, but he refused the honour in 
fitTOur of one, whom he supposed to be more competent to 
the discharge of its duties. 

During the same year he was elected a member of the pro- 
vincial assembly, in which body he soon became very popu- 
lar, and was annually re-elected by his fellow-citizens for the 
space of ten years. 

About this time, the attention of Mr. Franklin was parti* 
cularly turned to philosophical subjects. In 1747, he had 
witnessed at Boston, some experiments on electricity, which 
excited his curiosity, and which he repeated on his return 
to Philadelphia, with great success. These experiments led 
to important discoveries, an account of which was transmit- 
ted to England, and attracted great attention throughout all 

In the year 1749 he conceived the idea of explaining the 
phenomena of thunder gusts, and of the aurora borealis, upon 
electrical principles ; he pointed out many particulars, in 
which lightning and electricity agreed, and he adduced many 
facts and reasonings in support of his positions. In the same 
year, he thought of ascertaining the truth of his doctrine by 
drawing down the forked lightning, by means of sharp 
pointed iron rods, raised into the region of the clouds. Ad- 
mitting the identity of lightning and electricity, and knowing 
the power of points in conducting away silently the electric 
fluid, he suggested the idea of securing houses, ships, dcc» 
from the damages to which they were liable from lightniog. 


by erecting pointed iron rods, wliich should rise some feet 
above the most elevated part, and descend some feet into the 
ground, or the water. The effect of these, he concluded, 
would be either to prevent a stroke, by repelling the cloud 
beyond the striking distance, or by drawing off the electrical 
fluid, which it contained ; or at, least, conduct the stroke to 
the earth, without any injury to the building. It was not till 
the summer of 1752, that Mr. Franklin was enabled to com- 
plete his grand experiment. The plan which he proposed 
was, to erect on some high tower, or elevated place, a sort of 
nut, from which should rise :a pointed iron rod, insulated by 
being fixed in a cake of resin. Electrified cl6uds passing 
over this, would, he conceived, impart to it a portion of their 
electricity, which might be rendered evident to the senses by 
sparks being emitted, when the knuckle or other conductor 
was presented to it. While he was waiting for the erection 
of a spire, it occurred to him, that he might have more ready 
access to the region of clouds by means of a common kite ; 
he accordingly prepared one for the purpose, affixing to the 
upright stick an iron point. The string was as usual, of 
hemp, except the lower end, which was silk, and where the 
hempen part terminated, a key was fastened. With this sim- 
ple apparatus, on the appearance of a thunder storm approach- 
ing, he went into the fields, accompanied by his son, to whom 
alone he communicated his intentions, dreading probably the 
ridicule which frequently awaits unsuccessful attempts in ex- 
perimental philosophy. For some time no sign of electricity 
appeared ; he was beginning to despair of success, when he 
suddenly observed the loose fibres of the string to start for- 
ward in an erect position, He now presented his knuckle to 
the key, and received a strong spark. How exquisite must 
his sensations have been at this moment ? On this experiment 
depended the fate of his theory ; repeated sparks were drawn 
from the key, a phial was charged, a shock given, and all the 
experiments made, which are usually performed with electri- 
city. He immediately fixed an insulated iron rod upon his 
house, which drew down the lightning, and gave him an op- 
portonity of examining whether it were positive or negative* 



ftnd hence he applied his discorerj to the securing of 
ings from the effects of lightning. 

It will be impossible to enumerate aU, or even a small part 
of the experiments which were made by Dr. Franklin, or to 
give an account of the treatises which he wrote on the 
branches of science. ' Justice requires us to say, that he sel- 
dom wrote, or discoursed on any subject, upon which he did 
not throw light Few men possessed a more penetrating^ 
genius, or a happier faculty of discrimination. His investiga- 
tions attracted the attention, and his discoveries called forth the 
admiration of the learned in all parts of the world. Jealousy 
was at length excited in Europe, and attempts were made, 
not only to detract from his well earned fame, but to rob him 
of the merit of originality. Others claimed the honour of 
having first made several of his most brilliant experiments, or 
attempted to invalidate the truth and reality of those, an ac- 
count of which he had published to the world. The good 
sense of Dr. Franklin led him to oppose his adversaries only 
by silence, leaving the vindication of his merit to the slow, but 
sure operations of time. 

In 1753 he was raised to the important office of deputy 
post master general of America. Through ill management, 
this office had been unproductive : but soon after the appoint- 
ment of Franklin, it became a source of revenue to the British 
crown. In this station, he rendered important services to 
General Braddock, in his wild and fatal expedition against 
fort Du Quesne. When, at length, Braddock was defeated, 
and the whole frontier was exposed to the incursions of the 
savages and the French, Franklin raised a company of volun- 
teers, at the head of which he marched to the protection of 
the frontier. 

At length, in 1757, the militia was disbanded \by order of 
the British government, soon after which Franklin was ap- 
pointed agent to settle the disputes which had arisen between 
the people of Pennsylvania, and the proprietary government 
With this object in view, he left his native country once nwM^e 
for England. On his arrival, he laid the subject before the 
privy council. The point in dispute was occasioned by m 


effort of the proprietors to exempt their private estates from 
taxation ; and because this exemption was not admitted, they 
refused to make appropriations for the defence of the pro- 
▼ince, even in times of the greatest danger and necessity. 
Franklin managed the subject with great ability, and at length 
brought the proprietary faction to terms. It was agreed, 
that the proprietary lands should take their share in a tax for 
the public service, provided that Franklin would engage that 
the assessment should be fairly proportioned. The measure 
was accordingly carried into effect, and he remained at 
the British court as agent for his province. His reputation 
caused him also to be entrusted with the like commission 
from Massachusetts, Maryland, and Georgia. The molesta- 
tion received by the British colonies, from the French in 
Canada, induced him to write a pamphlet, pointing out the 
advantages of a conquest of that province by the English ; and- 
the subsequent expedition against it, and its retention under 
the British government, at the peace, were, it is believed, 
much influenced by the force of his arguments on the subject. 
About this period, his talents as a philosopher were duly 
appreciated in various parts of Europe. He was admitted a 
fellow of the royal society of London, and the degree of doc- 
tor of laws was conferred upon him at St. Andrews, Edin- 
burgh, and at Oxford. 

In 1702 he returned to America. On his arrival the pro- 
vincial assembly of Pennsylvania expressed their sense of his 
meritorious, services by a vote of thanks ; and as a remune- 
ration for his successful labours in their behalf, they granted 
him the sum of ^ve thousand dollars. During his absence, he 
bad annually been elected a member of the assembly, in 
which body he now took his seat. The following year he 
made a journey of sixteen hundred miles, through the nor- 
thern colonies, for the purpose of inspecting and regulating 
the post offices. ' 

In 1764, he was again appointed the agent of Pennsylvania, 
to manage her concerns in England, in which country he ar- 
rived in the month of December. About this period the 
famous stamp act was exciting violent commotions in America. 

SRr2 psnxsyltakia delegation. 

Against this measure, Dr. Franklin strongly enlisted himself, 
and on bis arrival in England, he presented a petition against 
it, which, at his suggestion, had been drawn up by the Penn- 
sylrania assembly. At length the tumults in America became 
so great, that the ministry found it necessary either to modify 
the act, or to repeal it entirely. Among others, Dr. Franklin 
was summoned before the house of commons, where he un- 
derwent a long examination. '* No person was better ac- 
quainted with the circumstances and internal concerns of the 
colonies, the temper and disposition of the colonists towards 
the parent country, or their feelings in relation to the late 
measures of parliament, than this gentleman. His answers 
to the numerous questions put to him in the course of 
this inquiry, not only show his extensive acquaintance with 
the internal state of the colonies, but evince his sagacity as a 
statesmen. To the question, whether the Americans would 
submit to pay the stamp duty if the act were modified, and 
the duty reduced to a small amount ? He ani^wered, no, they 
never will submit to it. British statesmen were extremely 
desirous that the colonial assemblies should acknowledge the 
right of parliament to tax them, and rescind and erase from 
their journals their resolutions on this subject. To a ques- 
tion, whether the American assemblies would do this, Di. 
Franklin answered, ' they never will do it, unless compelled 
by force of arms.' " 

The whole of this examination on being published was 
read with deep interest, both in England and America. To 
tlie statements of Dr. Franklin, the repeal of the stamp act 
was, no doubt, in a gr^t measure, attributai)le. 

In the year 1766, and 1767, he made an excursion to Hol- 
land, Germany, and France, where he met with a most flat- 
tering and distinguished reception. To the monarch of the 
latter country, Louis XV., he was introduced, and also to 
other members of the royal family, by whom, as well as by 
the nobility and gentry at court, he was treated with great 
hospitality and courtesy. About this time, he was elected a 
member of the French Academy of Sciences, and received' 


diplomas from sertnl other literary soeieti^ in Englandt 
and on the continent. 

Allusion has already heen made, in our introduction, to the 
dueovery and publication, in 1772, of certain letters of Go* 
▼ernor Hutchinson, addressed by that gentleman to his 
fHends in England, and which reflected in the sererest man- 
ner upon the people of America. These letters had fallen 
into the hands of Dr. Franklin, and by him had been trans* 
mitted to America, where they were at length inserted in the 
puUic journals. For a time, no one in England knew 
through what channel the letters had been conveyed to 
America. In 1773, Franklin publicly avowed himself to be 
the person who obtained the letters and transmitted them to 
America. This occasioned a violent clamour against him, 
and upon his attending before the privy council, in the fol- 
lowing January, to present a petition from the colony of 
Massachusetts, for the dismission of Mr. Hutchinson, a most 
violent invective was pronounced against him, by Mr. Wed- 
debume, afterwards Lord Loughborough. Among other 
abusive epithets, the honourable member called Franklin a 
coward, a murderer, and a thief. During the whole of this 
torrent of abuse, Franklin sat widi a composed and unaverted 
aspect, or, to use his own expression, in relation to himself 
on another occasion, *' as if his countenance had been madje 
of wood." * During this personal and public insult, the whole 
assembly appeared greatly amused, at the expense of Dr. 
Franklin. The president even laughed aloud. There was a 
single person present, however, Lord North, who, to his 
honour be it recorded, expressed great disapptobation of the 
indecent conduct of the assembly. The intended insult, 
however, was entirely lost The dignity and composure of 
Franklin caused a sad disappointment among his enemies, 
who were reluctantly compelled to acknowledge the superi- 
ority of his character. Their animosityy however, was not 
to be appeased, but by doing Franklin the greatest injury 
within tlieir power. They removed him from the office of 
deputy post master general, interrupted the payment of his 
flolary as agent for the colonies, and finally instituted 


against him a suit in chancery concerning the letters' of 

At length, finding all his efforts to restore harmony be- 
tween Great Britain and the colonies useless ; and perceir- 
ing that the controversy had reached a crisis, when hb pre- 
sence in England was no longer necessary, and his continu- 
ance personally hazardous, he embarked for America, where 
he arrived in 1775, just after the commencement of hostilities. 
He was received with every mark of esteem and affection. 
He was immediately elected a delegate to the general con- 
gress, in which body he did as much, perhaps, as any odier 
man, to accomplish the independence of his country. 

In 1776, he was deputed by congress to proceed to Canada, 
to negociate with the people of that country, and to persuade 
them, if possible, to throw off the British yoke ; but the in- 
habitants of Canada had been so much disgusted with the zeal 
of the people of New-England, who had bunit some of their 
chapels, that they refused to listen to the proposals made to 
them by Dr. Franklin and his associates. On the arrival of 
Lord Howe in America in 1776, he entered upon a correspon- 
dence with him on the subject of reconciliation. He was 
afterwards appointed, with two others, to wait upon the Eng- 
lish commissioners, and learn the extent of their powers ; 
but as these only went to the granting of pardon upon sub- 
mission, he joined his colleagues in considering them as in- 
sufficient. Dr. Franklin was decidedly in favour of a decla 
ration of independence; and was appointed president of the 
convention assembled for the purpose of establishing a new 
government for the state of Pennsylvania. When it was 
determined by congress to open a public negociation with 
France, he was commissioned to visit that country, with 
which he negotiated the treaty of alliance, offensive and de- 
fensive, which produced an immediate war between England 
and France. Dr. Franklin was one of the commissioners 
who, on the part of the United States, signed the provincial 
articles of peace in 1782, and the definitive treaty in the fol- 
lowing year. Before he left Europe, he concluded a treaty 
with Sweden and Prussia. By the latter, he obtained several 


most liberal and humane stipulations in favour of the free* 
dom of commerce^ and the security of private property 
during war, in conformity to those principles which he had 
ever maintained on these subjects. Having seen the accom- 
plishment of his wishes in the independence of his country* 
he requested to be recalled, and after repeated solicitations! 
Mr. Jefferson was appointed in his stead. On the arrival of 
his successor, he repaired to Havre de Grace, and crossing 
the English channel, landed at Newport in the Isle of Wight, 
whence, after a favourable passage, he arrived safe at Phila- 
delphia, in September, 1785. 

The news of his arrival, was received with great joy by 
the citizens. A vast multitude flocked from all parts to see 
him, and amidst the ringing of bells, the discharge of artillery, 
the acclamations of thousands, conducted him in triumph to 
his own house. In a few days, he was visited by the mem- 
bers of congress, and the principal inhabitants of Philadel- 
phia. From numerous societies and assemblies he received 
the most affectionate addresses. All testified their joy at his 
return, and their veneration of his exalted character. 

This was a period in his life of which he often spoke with 
peculiar pleasure. *'I am now," said he, " in the bosom of 
my family, and find four new little prattlers, who cling about 
the knees of their grandpapa, and afford me great pleasure. 
I am surrounded by my friends, and have an affectionate 
good daughter and son-in-law to take care of me. I have 
got into my nichCf a very good house, which I built twenty- 
four years ago, and out of which I have been ever since kept 
by foreign employments." 

The domestic tranquillity in which he now found himself, 
he was not permitted long to enjoy, being appointed presi- 
dent of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, an ofBce which 
he held for three years, and the duties of which he discharged 
very acceptably to his constituents. Of the federal conven 
tion of 1787, for organizing the constitution of the United 
States, he was elected a delegate, and in the intricate discus- 
sions which arose on different parts of that instrument, he 
bore a distinguished part 

III llSSf he wi^drew from piriblic lile, his great age ren 
dering retiremeikt desiraUey and the infirmitiefl of his bodr 
unfitting him for the bnrdens of pnhlic office. On the 17th 
of Aprily 179Q» in the eighty-fourth year of his age, he ex- 
piredt in the city of Philadelphia. He was interred on the 
21st of ApriL Congress directed a general mourning for 
him, throughout the United States, for the space of a month. 
The national assemhly of France testified Uieir sense of the 
loss which the world sustained, hy decreeing that each mem- 
her should wear mourning for three days. This was an ho« 
nour perhaps never before paid hy the national assembly of 
one country, to a citizen of another. Dr. Franklin lies bu- 
ried in the northwest comer of Christ Church yard, in Phila* 
delphia. In his will he directed that no monumental orna- 
ments should be placed upon his tomb. A small marble 
slab only, therefore, and that, too, on a level with the sor- 
fiice of the earth, bearing the name of himself and wife, and 
the year 6f his death, marks the spot in the yard where he 

Dr. Franklin had two children, a son and a daughter. The 
son, under the British government, was appointed governor 
of New-Jersey. On the occurrence of the revolution, he left 
America, and took up his residence in England, where he 
spent the remainder of his life. The daughter was respecta- 
bly married in Philadelphia, to Mr. William Bache, whose 
descendants still reside in that city. 

In stature, Dr. Franklin was above the middle size. He 
possessed a healthy constitution, and was remarkable for his 
strength and activity. His countenance indicated a serene 
state of mind, great depth of thought, and an inflexible re- 

In his iptercourse with mankind, he was uncoramoidy 
agreeable. In conversation, he abounded in curious and in- 
teresting anecdote. A vein of good humour marked his con- 
versation, and strongly recommended him to both old and 
young, to the learned and illiterate. 

As a philosopher, he justly ranks high. In his speenla- 
tions, he seldom lost sight of common sense, or yielded up 


bis nnderstdiiding either to enthusiasm or authority. He 
contributed, in no smalt degree, to the extension of science, 
and to the improyement of the condition of mankind. He 
appears to have entertained, at some periods of his life, opi^ 
nions which were in many respects peculiar, and which pro* 
bably were not founded upon a sound philosophy. The fol- 
lowing experiment, which he made some years after his fa- 
ther's death, and after an absence of several years, to ascer* 
tain whether his mother would know him, will be thought at 
least curious and interesting. It was his conjecture, if not a 
Well settled opinion, that a mother might, by a kind of in- 
stinct or natural affection, recognize her children, even al- 
though she had lost the recollection of their particular fea- 
tures. It was on a visit to his native town of Boston, after 
an absence of many years, that this curious incident oc- 

** To discover the existence of this instinct by actual ex- 
periment," says an unknown writer, to whom we are indebt- 
ed for the story, and upon whose responsibility we give it to 
our readers, ^* the Doctor resolved- to introduce himself as a 
stranger to his mother, and to watch narrowly for the mo- 
ment in which she should discover her son, and then to de« 
termine, with the cool precision of the philosopher, whether 
that discovery was the effect of that instinct of affection, that 
intuitive love, that innate attachment, which is conjectured 
to cement relatives of the same blood ; and which, by ac- 
cording the passions of parent and child, like a well-tuned 
viol, would, at the first touch, cause them to vibrate in uni- 
son, and at once evince that they were different chords of the 
jBame instrument. 

^ On a suUen, chilly day, in the month of January, in the 
afternoon, die Doctor knocked at his mother's door, and 
aaked to speak with Mrs. Franklin. He found the old lady 
knitting before the paarlour fire. He introduced himself and 
efaoerving, that he understood she entertained travellers, re- 
quested a night's lodging. She eyed him with that cold look 
oi disapprobation wMch most people assume, when they ima- 
nue tliMuebes iasiked, by being supposed to oeereisa aa 


employment but one degree below their real occupation in 
life — assured him that he had been misinformed, that she did 
not keep tavern ; but that it was true, to oblige some mem- 
bers of the legislature, she took a number of them into her 
family during the session ; that she had four members of tne 
council, and six of the house of representatives, who then 
boarded with her ; jthat all her beds were full ; and then be- 
took herself to her knitting, with that intense application, 
which expressed, as forcibly as action could do, if you have 
concluded your business, the sooner you leave the house the 
better. But upon the Doctor's wrapping his coat around him, 
affecting to shiver with cold, and observing that it was very 
chilly weather, she pointed to a chair, and gave him leave to 
warm himself. 

*' The entrance of her boarders precluded all further con- 
versation; coffee was soon served, and the Doctor partook with 
the family. To the coffee, according to the good old custom 
of the times, succeeded a plate of pippins, pipes, and a paper 
of M'Intire's best, when the whole family formed a cheerful 
smoking semi-circle before the fire. Perhaps no man ever 
possessed colloquial powers to a more fascinating degree, 
than Dr. Franklin, and never was there an occasion when he 
displayed those powers to greater advantage, than at this 
time. He drew the attention of the company, by the solidity 
of his modest remarks, instructing them by the varied, new, 
and striking lights in which he placed his subjects, and de- 
lighted them with apt and amusing anecdotes. Thus employ- 
ed, the hours passed merrily along, until eight' o'clock, when, 
punctual to a moment, Mrs. Franklin announced supper. 
Busied with her household affairs, she fancied the intruding 
stranger had quitted the house, immediately after coffee, and 
it was with difficulty she could restrain her resentment, when 
she saw him, without molestation, seat himself at the table 
with the freedom of a member of the family. 

'* Immediately afler supper, she called an elderly gentle- 
man, a member of the council, in whom she was accustomed 
to confide, to another room ; complained bitterly of the rude 
ness of the stranger ; told the manner of his introduction t'' 


her house ; observed that he appeared like an outlandish 
man ; and, she thought, had something very suspicious in 
his appearance ; concluding by soliciting her friend's advice 
with respect to the way in which . she could most easily rid 
herself of his presence. The old gentleman assured her, 
that the stranger was certainly a young man of education, and 
to all appearance a gentleman ; that, perhaps, being in agreea- 
ble company, he had paid no attention to the lateness of the 
hour ; and advised her to call him aside, and repeat her ina- 
bility to lodge him. She accordingly sent her maid to him, 
and then, with as much temper as she could command, reca- 
pitulated the situation of her family, observed that it grew 
late, and mildly intimated that he would do well to seek him* 
self a lodging. The Doctor replied, that he would by no 
means incommode her family ; but that, with her leave, he 
would smoke one pipe more with her boarders, and then 

'' He returned to the company, filled his pipe, and with 
the first whiff his powers returned with double force. He 
recounted the hardships, he extolled the piety and policy of 
their ancestors. A gentleman present mentioned the subject 
of the day's debate in the house of representatives. A bill 
had been introduced to extend the prerogatives of the royal 
governor. The Doctor immediately entered upon the sub- 
ject ; supported the colonial rights with new and forcible ar 
guments ; was familiar with the names of the influential men 
in the house, when Dudley was governor; recited their 
speeches, and applauded the noble defence of the charter 
of rights. 

^^ During a discourse so appropriately interesting to the 
company, no wonder the clock struck eleven, unperceiv- 
ed by the delighted circle ; and was it wonderful that the 
patience of Mrs. Franklin grew quite exhausted ? She now 
entered the room, and, before the whole company, with much 
warmth, addressed the Doctor ; told him plainly, she thought 
herself imposed on ; observed, it was true she was a lone 
woman, but that she had friends who would protect her, and 
4:oncluded by insisting on his leaving the house. The Doe* 



lor made a digkt apology, deliberately pnt on his great coat 
and hat, took polite leaye of the company, and approached 
the street door, lighted by the maid, and attended by the mis- 
tresa. While the Doctor and his companions had been en- 
joying themselves within, a most tremendous snow storm had, 
without, filled the streets knee deep ; and no sooner had the 
maid lifted the latch, than a roaring northeaster forced open 
the door, extinguished the light, and almost filled the entry 
with drifted snow and haU. As soon as it was re-lighted, the 
Doctor cast a woful look towards the door, and thns address- 
ed his mother : ' My dear madam, can yon turn me out in 
this dreadful storm T I am a stranger in this town, and shall 
certainly perish in the streets. You look like a charitable 
lady; I shouldn't think yon could turn a dog from your 
door, in this tempestuous night.* * Don't tell me of charity/ 
said the ofifended matron ; * charity begins at home. It is 
your own fault you tarried so long. To be plain with you» 
sir, I do not like your looks, or your conduct ; and I fear 
you have some bad designs in thus introducing yourself to my 

** The warmth of this parley had drawn the company from 
the parlonr, and by their united interference the stranger 
was permitted to lodge in the house ; and as no bed could 
be had, he consented to rest on an easy chair before* the par- 
lour fire. Although the boarders appeared to confide, per- 
fectly, in the stranger's honesty, it was not so with Mrs. 
Franklin. With suspicious caution, she collected her silver 
spoons, pepper-box, and porringer, from her closet; and, 
after securing her parlour door, by sticking a fork over the 
latch, carried the plate to her chamber ; ciiarged the negro 
man to sleep with his clothes on, to take the great lever to 
bed with him, and to waken and seize the vagrant at the first 
noise he made, in attempting to plunder the house. Having 
thus taken every precaution, she retired to her bed with her 
maid, whom she compelled to sleep in her room. 

'* Mrs. Franklin rose before the sun, roused her domesticSi 
unfastened the parlour door with timid caution, and was 
Agreeably surprised to find her guest sleeping on his own 


chair. A sudden tratisitioB from extreme distrust to perfect 
confideQce, was natural. She awakened him with a cheerful 
good morning ; inquired how he rested ; invited him to par- 
take of her breakfast, which was always served previous to 
that of her boarders. ' And pray, sir,' said the lady, as she 
sipped her chocolate, ' as you appear to be a stranger here, 
to what distant country do you belong V *I, madam, belong to 
the city of Philadelphia.* At the mention of Philadelphia, 
the Doctor declared he, for the first time, perceived some emo- 
tion in her. * Philadelphia /' said she, and all the mother 
suffused her eye : * if you live in Philadelphia, perhaps you 
know our Ben.' * Who, madam V * Why Ben Franklin — my 
Ben. — Oh ! he is the dearest child that ever blest a mother !• 
* What,' said the Doctor, ' is Ben Franklin, the printer, your 
son ; why he is my most intimate friend : he and I lodge in 
the same room.' ' Oh ! God forgive me,' exclaimed the old 
lady, raising her watery eyes to heaven — * and have I suffered 
a friend of my Benny to sleep in this hard chair, while I my- 
self rested on a good bed?' 

" How the Doctor discovered himself to his mother, he 
has not informed us ; but from the above experiment, he was 
firmly convinced, and was often afterwards heard to declare, 
that natural affection did not exist." 

Few men have exhibited a more worthy conduct than did 
Dr. Franklin, through his long life. Through every vicissi- 
tude of fortune, he seems to have been distinguished for his 
sobriety and temperance, for his extraordinary perseverance 
and resolution. He was not less distinguished for his veracity, 
for the constancy of his friendship, for his candour, and his 
fidelity to his moral and civil obligations. In the early part 
of his life, he adknowledged himself to have been sceptical in 
religion, but he became in maturer years, according to the tes- 
timony of his intimate friend. Dr. William Smith, a believer in 
divine revelation. The following extract from his memoirs, 
written by himself, deserves to be recorded: <' And here let 
me with all humility acknowledge, that to Divine Providence 
I am indebted for the felicity I have^hilfherto enjoyed. It is 
that pawer alone which has furnished me with the means I 
20 24* 


hare employed, and that has crowned them with success. 
My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot 
count upon it, that the divine goodness wUl still be exercised 
towards me, either by prolonging the duration of my happi- 
ness to the close of life, or by giving me fortitude to support 
any melancholy reverse which may ha;ppen to me as well as 
to many others. My future fortune is unknown but to Him, 
in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very 
afflictions subservient to our benefit" 

We conclude our notice of this distinguished man and 
profound philosopher, by subjoining the following epitaph, 
which was written by himself, many years previously to his 

The body of 


Like the cover of an old book, 

its contents torn out, 

and Btript of its lettering and gilding*, 

lies here food for worms ; 

Yet the work itself shall not be lost, 

For it will (as he believed) appear once more 

in a new 

and more beautiful edition, 

Corrected and amended 

by the Author. 


John Morton was a native of Ridley, in the county of 
CJhester, now Delaware. His ancestors were of Swedish ex- 
traction, and among the first Swedish emigrants, who loca- 
ted themselves on the banks of the Delaware. His father, 
after whom he was called, died a few months previously to his 
birth. His mother was some time after married to an Eng- 
lishman, who possessed a more than ordinary education, and 
who, with great kindness, on young Morton's becoming of 


the proper age, superintended and directed his education at 
home. Here his active mind rapidly expanded, and gave 
promise of the important part which he was destined to act 
in the subsequent history of his country. 

About the year 1764, he was commissioned as a justice of 
the peace, and was sent as a delegate to the general assembly 
of Pennsylvania. Of this body he was for many years an 
active and distinguished member, and for some time the 
speaker of the house of representatives. The following year 
he was appointed by the house of representatives of Pennsyl- 
vania to attend the general congress at New- York. The 
object and proceedings of this congress are too well known to 
need a recital in this place. 

In 1766, Mr. Morton was appointed sheriff of the county 
in which he lived, an office which he continued to hold for 
the three following years, and the duties of which he dis- 
charged with great satisfaction to the public. Some time 
after, he was elevated to a seat on the bench, in the superior 
court of Pennsylvania. 

Of the memorable congress of 1774 he was a member, and 
continued to represent the state of Pennsylvania in the national 
assembly, through the memorable session of that body which 
gave birth to the declaration of American Independence. 

On the occurrence of the momentous subject of independ- 
ence, in the continental congress, Mr. Morton unexpectedly 
found himself placed in a delicate and trying situation. Pre- 
viously to the 4th of July, the states of Delaware and Pennsyl 
vania had voted in opposition to that measure. Great doubts 
were therefore entertained by the other members of con- 
gress, how the Pennsylvania and Delaware delegations would 
act. Much was obviously depending upon them, for it was 
justly apprehended, that should these two states decline to 
accede to the measure, the result might prove most unfortu- 
nate. Happily, the votes of both these states were, at length, 
secured in favour of independence. But, as the delegation 
from Pennsylvania were equally divided, it fell to Mr. Mor- 
ton to give his casting vote. The responsibility which he 
thus assumed was great, and even fearful, should the measure 


be attended hj diwutrous resnlts. Mr. Mortoiif hoyfrerer^ 
was a man of firmness and decision, and, in the spirit of true 
patriotum, he enrolled his Tote in fayour of the liberty of his 
country. Considering his novel and solemn situatioa, he de- 
senres to be remembered with peculiar rei^pect, by the free 
and independent yeomanry of America. 

In the following year, he assisted in organizing a system of 
eonfederation, and was chairman of the committee of the 
whole, at the time it was finally agreed to, on the l&ih of No- 
vember, 1777. During the same year, he was seized with an 
inflammatory ferer, which, after a few days, ended his mor- 
tal existence, in the 54th year of his age. Mr. Morton was a 
professor of religion, and a truly excellent man. To the 
poor he was erer kind ; and to an afiTectionate family, consist- 
ing of a wife, three sons, and five daughters, he was an affec- 
tionate husband and father. His only enemies were those 
who would not forgive him because of his vote in favour of 
independence. During his last sickness, and even on the 
verge of the eternal world, he remembered them, and re- 
quested those who stood round him, to tell them, Xhat the 
hour would yet come, when it would be acknowledged; that 
his vote in favour of American independence was the most il- 
lustrious act of his life. 


Georoe Clymer was born in the city of Philadelphia, in 
the year 1739. His father was descended from a respecta^ 
ble family of Bristol, in England ; and ajOter his emigration 
to America became connected by marriage with a lady io 
Philadelphia. Young Clymer was left an orphan at the age 
of seven years, upon which event the care of him devolved 
.upon William Coleman, a maternal uncle, a gentleman of 
much respectability among the citizens of Philadelphia. 

escmas ci.tksr. Hgk 

The education of young Clymer was superintended by his 
uncle, tlian whom few men were better qualified for such a 
charge. The uncle possessed a cultivated |pind, and early 
instilled into his nephew a love of reading. On the comple- 
tioQ of his education, he entered the counting-room of his 
uncle. His genius, however, was little adapted to mercantile 
employments, being more inclined to literary and scientific 
pursuits. At a suitable period he commenced business for 
himself, in connexion with Mr. Robert Ritchie, and afterwards 
with two gentlemen, father and son, by the name of Mere- 
diths, a daughter of the former of whom he subsequently 

Although Mr. Clymer embarked in the pursuits of com- 
merce, and continued engaged in that business for many 
years, he was always decidedly opposed to it. During his 
mercantile operations, he found much time to read. He 
was distinguished for a clear and original mind ; and though 
be never pursued any of the learned professions, he became, 
well versed in the principles of law, history, and politics. 

At the age of twenty-seven, he was married, as has already 
been noticed, to a daughter of Mr. Meredith, a gentleman of 
a generous and elevated mind, as the following anecdote of 
him will show. While yet a young man, General Washing- 
ton had occasion to visit Philadelphia, where he was an en- 
tire stranger. HappeniDg in at the public house wherer 
Washington lodged, Mr. Meredith observed him, inquired his 
name, and finding him to be a stranger in the place, invited 
him to the hospitalities of his house, and kindly insisted upon 
his continuance with his fomily while he remained in the 
city. This accidental acquaintance led to a friendship of 
many years continuance, and at Mr. Meredith's^ Washington 
ever after made it his home when he visited Philadelphia. 

Mr. Clymer may be said to have been by nature a repub- 
lican. He was, also, a firm and devoted patriot His feel- 
ings were strongly enlisted, at an early age, against the arbi- 
trary acts of the British government. Gifted with a sort of 
prescience, he foresaw what was meditated against his coun- 
try, and was ready to hazard every interest in support of the 

986 PSlflfffTI.TAHIA »BI.B«ATI01I. 

piUars of Americmn freedom. Hence, when eonciliaioiy 
measures with the parent country were found nnavailiiig, he 
was one of ihm foremost to adopt measures necessar7 for de- 
fence. He early accepted a captain's commission in a com- 
pany of volunteers, raised for the defence of the prorince, 
and manfully opposed, in 1773, the sale of tea, which was 
sent out by the British gOYemment for the purpose of indi- 
rectly levying a contribution on the Americans without their 
consent Never was a plan more artfully laid by the minis- 
try of Great Britain ; never was an attack upon American 
liberty more covert and insidious ; and never was a defeat 
more complete and mortifying. On the arrival of the tea 
destined to Philadelphia, the citizens of that place, in a nume- 
rous JSeeting, adopted the most spirited resolutions, the ob- 
ject of which was' to prevent' the sale of it. A conunittee 
was appointed, of which Mr. Clymer was chairman, to wait 
upon the consignees, and to request them not to attempt to 

.#ell it This was a delicate office ; the committee, how- 
ever, fearlessly and faithfully discharged the duties of their 
appointment ; and not a single pound of tea was offered for 
sale in the city of Philadelphia. 

In 1775, Mr. Clymer was chosen a member of the council 
of safety, and one of the first continental treasureiK. On the 
20th of July, of the following year, he was elected a member 
of the continental congress ; and though not present when 
the vote was taken on the question of independence, he had 
the honour of affixing his signature to that instrument in the 
following month. 

' In September, Mr. Cl3nner was appointed to visit Ticon- 
deroga, in conjunction with Mr. Stockton, to inspect the 
affiiirs of the northern army. In December of the same 
year, congress, finding it necessary to adjourn to Baltimore, 
in consequence of the advance of the British army towards 
Philadelphia, leA Mr. Clymer, Robert Morris, and George 
Walton, a committee to transact such business in that city as 
might be found necessary. 

In 1777, Mr. Clymer was again a member of congress. 
His duties during this session were particularly arduous^ and 


owing to bis unremitting exertions, he was obliged to retire 
for a season, for the recovery of his health. 

louring the fall of this distressing year, the family of Mr. 

Clymer, ivhich, at that time resided in the county of Chester 

about t\srenty-five miles from Philadelphia, suffered severely, 

in consequence of an attack by a band of British soldiers. 

Tbe furniture of the house was destroyed, and a large stock 

of liquors shared a similar fate. • Fortunately, the family 

made their escape. Mr. Clymer was then in Philadelphia* 

On the iarrival of the British in that place, they nought out 

his residence, and were proceeding to tear it down, and were 

only diverted from their purpose by the information, that the 

bouse did not belong to him. 

During this year, Mr. Clymer was appointed a eommis- 
sioner, in conjunction with several other gentlemen, to pro- 
ceed to Pictsbvrg, on the important and confidential service, 
of preserving a good understanding with several indian tribes 
in that country, and particularly to enlist warriors from the 
Shawanese and Delaware Indians into the service of the 
United States. During his residence at Pittsburg, he nar- 
rowly escaped death from the tomahawk of the enemy, 
having, ia^n excursion to visit a friend, accidentally and for- 
tunately taken a route which led him to avoid^ a party of 
savages, who murdered a white man at the very place where 
Mr. Clymer must have been, had he not chosen a different 

In our biographical sketch of Robert Morris, we have 
given some account of the establishment of a bank by the 
patriotic citizens of Philadelphia, the object of which was 
the relief of the army, which, in 1780, was suffering such a 
combination of calamities, as was likely to lead to its dis- 
banding. Of the advocates of this measure, Mr. Clymer 
was one, and from the active and efficient support which he 
gave to the bank, h* was selected as a director of the insti- 
tution. By means of this bank, the pressing wants of the ' 
army were relieved. Congress, by a resolve, testified the 
high sense which they entertained of the generosity and pa- 
triotism of the association, and pledged the faith of the 


United States to the fubseriben to the btnk, for tbeir vlti" 
' mate reimbursement and indemnity. 

Mr. Clf mer was again elected to congress in 1780 ; from 
which time, for nearly two years, he was absent from his 
seat but a few weeks, so faithfully and indefatigably aiten- 
tiye was he to the public service. In the latter part of 178% 
he removed with his family to Princeton, in New-Jersey, 
for the purpose of giving to his children the advantages 
of a collegiate education, in the seminary in that place. Aflter 
the many toils and privations through which he had passedi 
it was a luxury, indeed, to enjoy the peace of domestic life, 
especially having to reflect that the glorious object for which 
he and his fellow-countrymen had laboured so long, was 
now wilh certainty soon to be accomplished. 

In 1784, Mr. Clymer was again summoned by the citizens 
of Pennsylvania, to take a part in the general assembly of 
that state. Of this body he continued a member until the 
meeting of the convention to form a mor^ efficient constitu- 
tion for the general government; of which latter body he was 
elected a member, and after the adoption of the constitution, 
he represented the state of Pennsylvania, in congress, for 
two years ; when declining a re-election, he closed his long 
and able legislative career. 

In the year 1791, congress passed a bill imposing a duty 
on fipirits distilled in the United States. To the southern 
and western part of the country, this duty was singularly 
obnoxious. At the head pf the excise department, in the 
state of Pennsylvania, Mr. Clymer was placed. The duties 
of this office were rendered extremely disagreeable, by rea- 
son of the general dissatisfaction, which prevailed on account 
of the law. This dissatisfaction was particularly strong in 
the district of Pennsylvania lying west of the Alleghany 
mountains, and here the spirit of discontent broke out into 
acts of open opposition. At the risk of his life, Mr. Clymer 
made a visit to this theatre of insurrection, to ascertain the 
existing state of things, and if possible to aUay the spirit of 
opposition, which was manifesting itself. His instructloiiSi 
however, were so limited, that he was able to produce bat 


little effect upon the turbulent and heated minds of the fke- 
tion. Soon after his return, he was induced ta resign an 
office, which, from the difficulty of faithfully discharging iU 
had become extremely disagreeable to him. 

In the year 1796, Mr. Clymer was appointed, together with 
Colonel Hawkins and Colonel Pickins, to negotiate a treaty 
ivith the Cherokee and Creek indians, in Georgia. With 
this object in view, he sailed from Philadelphia for Savannah. 
in the month of April, accompanied by his wife. Their 
voyage proved not only exceedingly unpleasant, but extreme- 
ly hazardous, in consequence of a violent storm, during 
ivhich, the crew were for several days obliged to labour in- 
cessantly at the pumps. Having satisfactorily completed the 
husiness of his mission, he again returned to Philadelphia. 
At this time, he closed his political life, and retired to the 
enjoyment of that rest which he justly coveted, after having 
served his country, with but few short intervals, for more 
than twenty years. 

At a subsequent date, he was called to preside over the 
Philadelphia bank, and over the Academy of Fine Arts, and 
was elected a vice president of the Philadelphia Agricultural 
Society, upon its re-organization, in 1805. These offices he 
held at the tim^ of his death, which occurred on the 23d of 
January, 1813, in the 74th year of his age. 

The following extracts from an eloquent eulogium, pro* 
nounced before the Academy of Fine Arts, upon the charac- 
ter of Mr. Clymer, by Joseph Hopkinson, Esq. may pro- 
perly conclude this brief biographical notice. After alluding 
to the election of Mr. Clymer to the presidency of the Aca- 
demy of Fine Arts, Mr. Hopkinson happily observes : '* At 
different periods of our national history, from the first boM 
step which was taken in the march of independence, to its 
full and perfect consummation in the establishment of a wise 
and effective system of government, whenever the virtue and 
talents of our country were put in requisition, Mr. Clymer 
was found wit& the selected few, to whom our rights and 
destinies were committed. 

** When posterity shall ponder on the declaration of July 
2P 26 


1776, and admire^ with deep amazement and veneration, the 
eoorage and patriotiam, the virtue and self-devotion of the 
deed, they will find the name of Clymer there. When 
the strength and splendour of this empire shall hereafter be 
displayed in the fulness of maturity, (heaven grant we reach 
it,) and the future politician shall look at that scheme of go- 
vernment, by which the whole resources of a nation have 
been thus brought into action ; by which power has been 
maintained, and liberty not overthrown ; by which th^ people 
have been governed and directed, but not enslaved or op* 
pressed ; they will find that Clymer was one of the fathers 
of the country, from whose wisdom and experience the sys- 
tem emanated. Nor was the confidence, which had grown 
ont of his political life and services, his only claim to the 
station which he held in this institution. Although his 
modest, unassuming spirit never sought public displays of his 
merit, but rather withdrew him from the praise, that was his 
due; yet he could not conceal from his friends, nor his 
friends from the world, the extraordinary improvement of 
his mind. Retired, studious, contemplative, he was ever 
adding something to his knowledge, and endeavouring to make 
that knowledge useful. His predominant passion was to 
promote every scheme for the improvement of his country, 
whether in science, agriculture, polite education, the useful 
or the fine arts. Accordingly, we find his name in every as- 
sociation for these purposes ; and wherever we find him, we 
also find his usefulness, t^ossessed of all that sensibility and 
delicacy, essential to taste, he had of course a peculiar fond- 
ness for the fine arts, elegant literature, and the refined 'pur- 
suits bf a cultivated genius. It was in the social circle of 
friendship that his acquirements were displayed and appre- 
ciated, and although their action was communicated from 
this circle to a wider sphere, it was with an enfeebled force. 
His intellects were strong by nature, and made more so by 
culture and study ; but he was diffident and retired. Gapa 
ble of teaching, he seemed only anxious to learn. Firm, bat 
not obstinate; independent, but not arrogant; communica- 
tive, but not obtrusive, he was at once the amiable and in^ 

MXZ8 8KITH. 301 

strncdve companion. His researches had been rarious, and, 
if not always profound, they were competent to his purposes, 
and beyond his pretensions. Science, literature, and the arts, 
had all a share of his attention, and it was only by a frequent 
intercourse with him, we discovered how much he knew of 
each. The members of. this board have all witnessed the 
kindness and urbanity of his ' manners. Sufficiently fixed in 
his own opinions, he gave a liberal toleration to others, as- 
suming no offensive or unreasonable control over the conduct 
of those with whom he was associated." 

In a subsequent part of his discourse, Mr. Hopkinson, allu- 
ding to the value of a punctual performance of our promises, 
remarks : " In this ipost useful virtue, Mr. Clymer was pre- 
eminent. During the seven years he held the presidency of 
this academy, his attention to the duties of the station were 
without remission. He excused himself from nothing that 
belonged to his office; he neglected nothing. He never once 
omitted to attend a meeting of the directors, unless prevented 
by sickness or absence from the city ; and these exceptions 
were of very rare occurrence. He was indeed the first to 
come ; so that the board never waited a moment for their 
president. With other public bodies to which he was at- 
tached, I undei^tand, he observed the same punctual and con- 
scientious discharge of his duty. It is thus that men mak-e 
themselves useful, and evince that they do not occupy places 
of this kind merely as empty and undeserved compliments, but 
for the purpose of rendering all the services which the place 
requires o( them.** 


James Smith, the subject of the following memoir, was & 
native of Ireland ; but in what year he was born is unknown. 
This was a secret which, even to his relations and friends, ho 


would neyer communicate, and the knowledge of it was 
buried with him in the grave. It is conjectured, however, 
that he was horn hetween the years 1715 and 1720. 

His father was a respectable farmer, who removed to Ame- 
rica with a numerous family, and settled on the west side of 
the Susquehanna. He died in the year 1761. James, who 
was his second son, received his education from the distin- 
guished Dr. Allison, provost of the college of Philadelphia. ' 
His attainments in classical literature were respectable. In 
the art of surveying, which at that early period of the coun- 
try was of great importance, he is said to have excelled. 
After finishing his educatioui he applied himself to the study 
of law, in the office of Thomas Cookson, of Lancaster. On 
being qualified for his profession, he took up his residence as 
a lawyer and surveyor, near the present town of Shippens- 
burg ; but some time after, he removed, to the flourishing vil- 
lage of York, where he established himself, and continued the 
practice of his profession during the remainder of his life. 

On the occurrence of the great contest between Great 
Britain and her American colonies, Mr. Smith entered with 
zeal into the patriotic cause, and on a meeting of delegates 
from all the counties of Pennsylvania in 1774, convened to 
express the public sentiment, on the expediency of abstaining 
from importing any goods from England, and assembling a 
general congress, Mr. Smith was a delegate from the county 
of York, and was appointed one of the committee to report a 
draft of instruction to the general assembly, which was then 
about to meet. At this time, a desire prevailed throughout 
the country, that the existing difliculties between the mother 
country and the colonies should be settled, without a resort 
to arms. Mr. Smith, however, it appears, was disposed to 
adopt vigorous and decided measures, since, on his return to 
York, he was the means of raising a volunteer company, 
which was the first volunteer corps raised in Pennsylvania, in 
opposition to the armies of Great Britain. Of this company 
he was elected captain, and when, at length, it increased to a 
regiment, he was appointed colonel of that regiment; a titles 


howeTer* which in respect to him was honorary, since he 
never assumed the actual command. 

In January, 1775, the convention for the province of Penn- 
sylvania was assembled. Of this convention, Mr. Smith was 
a member, and concurred in the spirited declaration made by 
that convention, that '< if the British administration should ^ 
determine by force to effect a submission to the late arbi- 
trary acts of the British parliament, in such a situation, we 
hold it our indispensable duty to resist such force, and at 
every hazard to defend the rights and liberties of America.*' 

Notwithstanding this declaration by the convention, a great 
proportion of the Pennsylvanians, particularly the numerous 
body of Quakers, were strongly opposed, not only to war, 
but even to a declaration of independence. This may be in- 
ferred from the instructions given by the general assembly to 
their delegates, who were appointed in 1775 to the general 
congress, of the following tenor : — that '* though the oppres- 
sive measures of the British parliament and administration, 
have compelled us to resist their violence by force of arms ; 
yet we strictly enjoin you, that you, in behalf of this colony, 
dissent from and utterly reject any proposition, should such 
be made, that may cause or lead to a separation from our mo- 
ther country, or a change in this form of government." 

This decided stand against a declaration of independence, 
roused the friends of that measure to the most active exertions, 
throughout the province. On the 15th of May, congress 
adopted a resolution, which was in spirit a declaration of in- 
dependence. This resolution was laid before a large meet* 
ing of the citizeut^ of Philadelphia, assembled five days after 
the passage of it, and in front of the very building in which 
congress was assembled, digesting plans of resistance. The 
resolution was received by this assembly of citizens, who 
were decided whigs, with great enthusiasm, the instructions 
of the provincial assembly to the Pennsylvania delegation in 
congress was loudly and pointedly condemned, and a plan 
adopted to assemble a provincial conference to establish a 
new government in Pennsylvania. 

Accordingly, such a conference was assembled, on thf 


18lh of June. Of this conference, Mr. Smith was an active 
and distinguished member. The proceedings of the confe- 
rence were entirely harmonious. Before it had assembled, 
the proyincial assembly had rescinded their obnoxious in- 
structions to their delegates in congress. Still, however, it 
was thought advisable for the conference to express in form 
their sentiments on the subject of a declaration of indepen- 
dence. The mover of a resolution to this effect, was Dr. 
Benjamin Rush, at that time a young man. Colonel Smith 
seconded the resolution, and these two gentlemen, with 
Thomas M'Kean, were appointed a committee to draft it. 
On the following morning, the resolution being reported, was 
unanimously adopted, was signed by the members, and on 
the 25th of June, a few days only before the declaration of 
independence by congress, was presented to that body. 

This declaration, though prepared in great haste, contain- 
ed the substance of that declaration, which was adopted by^ 
congress. It declared, that the king had paid no attention to 
the numerous petitions which had been addressed to htm, 
for the removal of the most grievous oppressions, but (to 
nse the language of the preamble to the resolution) he 
** hath lately purchased foreign troops to assist in enslaving 
us ; and hath excited the savages of this country to carry on 
a war against us, as also the negroes to imbrue their hands 
in the blood of their masters, in a manner unpractised by 
civilized nations ; and hath lately insulted our calamities, by 
declaring that he will show us no mercy, till he has reduced 
us. And whereas the obligations of allegiance (being recip- 
rocal between a king and his subjects) are now dissolved, on 
the side of the colonists, by the despotism of the said king, 
insomuch that it now appears that loyalty to him is treason 
against the good people of this country ; and whereas not 
only the parliament, but there is reason to believe, too many 
of the people of Great Britain, have concurred in the arbi- 
trary and unjust proceedings against us ; and whereas the 
public virtue of t(|is colony (so essential to its liberty and 
happiness) must be endangered by a future political union 
with, or dependence on, a crown and nation, so lost to jus- 


tice, patriotism, and ma^animity :" Therefore, the resolu- 
tion proceeded to assert that " the deputies of Pennsylvania 
assembled in the conference, unanimously declare their wil- 
lingness to concur in a vote of the congress, declaring the 
united colonies free and independent states : and that they 
call upon the nations of Europe, and appeal to the great 
Arbiter and Governor of the empires of the world, to wit- 
ness, that this declaration did not originate in ambition, or 
in an impatience of lawful authority ; but that they are dri- 
ven to it in obedience to the first principles of nature, by the 
oppressions and cruelties of the aforesaid king and parlia- 
ment of Great Britain, as the only possible measure left to 
preserve and establish our liberties, and to transmit them in 
violate to posterity." 

In the month of July, a convention was assembled in Phi- 
ladelphia, for the purpose of forming a new constitution for 
Pennsylvania. Of this body. Colonel Smith was elected a 
member, and he appeared to take his seat on the 15th day of 
the month. On the 20th he was elected by the convention a 
member of congress, in which body he took his seat, after 
the adjournment of the convention. Colonel Smith continu 
ed a member of congress for several years, in which capacity 
he was active and efficient. He always entertained strong 
anticipatipns of success during the revolutionary struggle, 
and by his cheerfulness powerfully contributed to dispel the 
despondency which he often saw around him. On with- 
drawing from congress, in November, 1778, he resumed his 
professional pursuits, which he continued until the year, 
1800, when he withdrew from the bar, having been in the 
practice of his profession for about sixty years. In the 
year 1806, he was removed to another world* He had 
three sons and two daughters, of whom only one of each 
survived him. 

In his disposition and habits. Colonel Smith was very pe- 
culiar. He was distinguished for his love of anecdote and 
conviviality. His memory was uncommonly retentive, and 
remarkably stored with stories of a humourous and diverting 


ehaneter, whichy on particular occanons, he related wiUi 
great effect 

He was for many years a professor of religion, and rery 
regular in his attendance on public worship. Notwithstand- 
ing his fondness for jest, he was more than most men ready 
to frown upon every expression which seemed to reflect on 
sacred subjects. It was a singular trait in the character of 
Mr. Smith, that he should so obstinately refuse to inform his 
friends of his age. The monument erected over his grave 
informs us, that his death occurred in the ninety-third yeai 
of his age* It b probable, howeyer, that he was not so old 
by sereral years. 


Of the early life of Geobgb Taylor, although he acted a 
distinguished part in the political affairs of his time, few 
incidents are recorded, in any documents which we have 
seen, and few, it is said, are remembered by the old men of 
the neighbourhood in which he lived. Mr. Taylor was bom 
in the year 1716. Ireland gave him birth. He was the 
ton of a respectable clergyman in that country, who having 
a more just estimation of the importance of a good educa- 
tion, gave to his son an opportunity to improve his mind, 
beyond most youth in the country about him. At a proper 
age he commenced the study of medicine ; but his genius 
not being adapted to the profession, he relinquished his me- 
dical studies, and soon after set sail for America. 

On his arrival, he was entirely destitute of money, and 
was obliged to resort to manual labour to pay the expenses 
of his voyage to America. The name of the gentlemaa 
who kindly employed him, and paid his passage, was Savage. 
He was the owner of extensive iron works at Durham, a 


jftinall Tillage, situated on the river Delaware, a few miles 
from Easton. 

In these works, young Taylor was for a time employed 
to throw coal into the furnace, when in blast. The business 
was, however, too severe for him, and at length Mr. Savage 
transferred him from this menial and arduous service, into 
his counting-room as a clerk. In this situation, he rendered 
himself very useful and acceptable, and, at length, upon the 
death of Mr. Savage, he became connected in marriage with 
his widow, and consequently the proprietor of the whole es- 
tablishment. In a few years the fortune of Mr. Taylor wa» 
considerably farther increased. He was now induced to pur- 
chase a considerable estate near the river Lehigh, in the 
county of Northampton, where he erected a spacious man- 
sion, and took up his permanent residence. 

A few years after, Mr. Taylor was summoned by his fel- 
low-citizens into public life. Of the provincial assembly, 
which met at Philadelphia, in October, 1764, he was for the 
first time a member, and immediately rendered himself con- 
spicuous, by the active part which he took in all the impor- 
tant questions which came before that body. 

From this period, until 1T70, Mr. Taylor continued to 
represent the county of Northampton in the provincial as- 
sembly. He was uniformly placed on several standing com- 
mittees, and was frequently entrusted, in connexion with 
other gentlemen, with the management of many important 
special concerns, as they continued to rise. At Northampton, 
Mr. Taylor entered into the business, which had so exten- 
sively occupied him, while at Durham. The business, how- 
ever, at the former place was by no means as profitable as 
it had been at the latter. Indeed it is said, that the fortune 
of Mr. Taylor suffered so considerably, that he was at length 
induced to return to Durham to repair it. 

In October, 1776, he was again elected a delegate to the 
provincial assembly in Pennsylvania, and in the following 
month was appointed, in connexion with several other gen- 
tlemen, to report a set of instructions to the delegates, which 
the assembly had just appointed to the continental congress. 


The circnmstances of the colony of Pennsylvania, were at 
this time, in some respects, peculiar. She was far less op- 
pressed than the other colonies in America. On the contrary, 
she had been grenHy faroured by his British majesty. Her 
government, which was proprietary, was administered without 
the least political oppression, and her constitution was free 
and liberal. 

In consequence of these, and other circumstances, a stroni^ 
reluctance prevailed in Pennsylvania to sever the bonds of 
onion between herself and the mother country. Hence, the 
measures of her public bodies were characterized by a more 
obvious respect for the British government than the measures 
of other colonies. This might be inferred from the instruc- 
tions reported at this time, by Mr. Taylor and his associates, 
and adopted by the assembly : 

^ The trust reposed in you is of such a nature, and the 
modes of executing it may be so diversified, in the course of 
your deliberations, that it is scarcely possible to give you par- 
ticular instructions respecting it. We, therefore, in general, 
direct that you, or any four of you, meet in congress the dele- 
gates of the several colonies now assembled in this city, and 
any such delegates as may meet in congress next year; that you 
consult together on the present critical and alarming state of 
public afiairs; that you exert your utmost endeavours to 
agree upon, and recommend such measures as you shall judge 
to afford the best prospect of obtaining redress of American 
grievances, and restoring that union and harmony between 
Great Britain and the colonies, so essential to the welfare and 
happiness of both countries." 

*' Though the oppressive measures of the British parlia- 
ment and administration have compelled us to resist their 
violence by force of arms, yet we strictly enjoin you, that you, 
in behalf of this colony dissent from, and utterly reject any 
propositions, should such be made, that may cause or lead to 
a separation from our mother country, or a chaui^e of the 
form of this government." 

During the winter and spring of 1776, a great change was 
effected in public sentiment in the province of Pennsylvania, 


an the subject of the contest between the mother country and 
the colonies. Hence the provincial assembly rescinded their 
former instructions to their delegates in congress, and while 
they expressed an ardent desire for the termination of the 
unhappy controversy, they were unwilling to purchase peace 
by a dishonourable submission to arbitrary power. ** We, 
therefore," said the assembly, in their instructions to their 
delegates in congress, '^ authorize you to concur with the other 
delegates in congress, in forming such further compacts be- 
tween the united colonies, concluding such treaties with foreign 
kingdoms and states, and in adopting such other measures as, 
upon a view of all circumstances, shall be judged necessary 
for promoting the liberty, safety, and interests of America ; 
reserving to the people of this colony the sole and exclusive 
right of regulating the internal government and police of the 

** The happiness of these colonies has, during the whole 
course of this fatal controversy, been our first wish. Their 
reconciliation with Great Britain our next. Ardently have 
we prayed for the accomplishment of both. But if we must 
renounce the one or the other, we humbly trust in the mer- 
cies of the Supreme Governor of the universe, tha! we shall 
not stand condemned before his throncj if our choice is de- 
termined by that overruling law of self-preservation, nirhich 
His divine wisdom has thought fit to implant in the hearts of 
bis creatures." 

Fortunately for the cause of American liberty, the change in 
public sentiment above alluded to, continued to spread, and 
on taking the great question of a declaration of independence, 
an approving vote by all the colonies was secured in its favour 
The approbation of Pennsylvania, however, was only obtain* 
ed by the casting vote of Mr. Morton, as has already bee^ 
mentioned in our biographical notice of that gentleman. Qa 
the 20th of July, the Pennsylvania convention proceeded to a 
new choice of Representatives. Mr. Morton, Dr. Franklint 
Mr. Morris, and Mr. Wilson, who had voted in favour of the 
declaration of independence, were re-elected. Those who 
had opposed it were at this time dropped, and the following 


gendemen were appointed in their place^ viz. : Mr. Taylor, 
Mr. R088, Mr. Clymer, Dr. Rash, and Mr. Smith. These latter 
gentlemen were consequently not present on the fourth of 
July, when the declaration was passed and proclaimed, but 
they had the honour of affixing their signatures to the en- 
grossed copy, on the second of August following, at which 
time the members generally signed it 

Mr. Taylor retired from congress in 1777, from which time 
we know little of his history. He settled at Easton, where he 
continued to manage his affairs with much success, and to re- 
pair his fortune, which had greatly suffered during his resi- 
dence on the banks of the Lehigh. Mr. Taylor died on the 
23d of February, 1781, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He 
had two children by his wife, a son, who became an attorney, 
but died before his father, and a daughter who was never 


James Wilson was a native of Scotland, where he was 
born about the year 1742. His father was a respectable far- 
mer, who resided in the vicinity of St. Andrews, well known 
for its university. Though not wealthy, he enjoyed a com- 
petency, until at length, a passion for speculation nearly 
ruined him. 

James Wilson received an excellent education. He 
stuJied successively at Glasgow, St. Andrews, and Edinburgh. 
He had the good fortune to enjoy the instruction of the du- 
tinguished Dr. Blair, and the not less celebrated Dr. Watts. 
By the former he was taught rhetoric ; by the latter, both 
rhetoric and logic. Under these eminent men, Mr. Wilson laid 
the foundation of an impressive eloquence, and a supem. 
and almost irresistible mode of reasoning. 

After completing his studies under the superior advantages 



already named, he resolved to seek in America that indepen- 
dence which he could scarcely hope for in his native country 
\ccordingly, he left Scotland, and reached Philadelphia early 
in the year 1766. He was highly recommended to several 
gentlemen of that city, hy one or more of whom he was in- 
troduced as a tutor to the Philadelphia college and academy. 
During the period that he served in this capacity, he enjoyed 
a reputation of being the best classical scholar who had offi- 
ciated as tutor in the Latin department of the college. 

He continued, however, only a few months to fill the above 
office, having received an offer, through the assistance of 
Bishop White and Judge Peters, of entering the law office of 
Mr. John Dickinson. In this office he continued for the 
space of two years, applying himself with great ardour to the 
study of the profession of law. At the expiration of this 
time, he entered upon the practice, first at Reading, but soon 
after removed to Carlisle, at which latter place he acquired the 
reputation of being an eminent counsellor previous to the re- 
volution. From Carlisle, Mr. Wilson removed to Annapolis, 
in Maryland, whence, in 1778, he came to Philadelphia, where 
he continued to reside for the remainder of his life. 

At an early day, Mr. Wilson entered with patriotic zeal in- 
to the cause of American liberty. He was an American in 
principle from the time that he landed on the American shore ; 
and at no period in the revolutionary struggle, did he for a 
single hour swerve from his attachment to the principles 
which he had adopted. 

Mr. Wilson, who was a member of the provincial conven- 
tion of Pennsylvania, was proposed as a delegate to the con- 
gress of 1774, in conjunction with his former instructor, Mr. 
Dickinson. Neither, however, was elected, through the in- 
fluence of the speaker, Mr. Galloway, of whom we have 
spoken in our introduction, and who afterwards united him- 
self to the British on their taking possession of Philadelphia* 
In the following year, however, Mr. Wilson was unanimously 
elected a member of congress, and in that body took his 
seat on the 10th of May, 1775. In this distinguished station* 

he continued until 1777, when, through the influence of party 




fbelingy he wu rapeneded, and another appointed in his 

In 1782, however, he was again elected to congress, anci^ 
look his seat in that body, on the second of January, 1783;. 
A few months previously to his re-election, he was appoint- 
ed by the president and supreme executive council, a coun- 
sellor and agent for Pennsylvania, in the great controTers3r 
between that state and the state of Connecticut, relating to 
certain lands within the charter boundary of Pennsylvania. 
These lands the state of Connecticut claimed as belonging to 
her, being included within her charter. On the thirtieth of 
December, 1782, tliis great question was determined at Tren- 
ton, New-Jersey, by a court of commissioners appointed for 
that purpose, who unanimously decided it in favour of Penn- 
sylvania. To the determination of the question in this man- 
ner, Mr. Wilson, it is said, greatly contributed, by a lumi- 
nous and impressive argument, which he delivered before the 
court, and which occupied several days. 

The high estimation in which Mr. Wilson was held, about 
this time, may be learned from his receiving the appointment 
of advocate general for the French government, in the Uni- 
ted States. His commission bore date the fifth of June, 
1779; and at a subsequent date was confirmed, by letters pa- 
tent from the king of France. The duties of this office were 
both arduous and delicate. Few men, however, were better 
qualified for such an office than Mr. Wilson. In 1781, diffi- 
culties having arisen as to the manner in which he should be 
paid for his services, he resigned his commission. He con- 
tinued, however, to give advice in such cases as were laid' 
before him, by the ministers and consuls of France, until 
1783. At which time, the king of France handsomely re- 
warded him by a gift of ten thousand livres. 

The standing of Mr. Wilson, during the whole course of 
his attendance in congress, was deservedly high. As a man 
of business, Pennsylvania had, probably, at no time, any one 
donong her delegation who excelled him. He was placed on 
numerous committees, and in every duty assigned him ex- 
hibited great fidelity, industry, and perseverance. 

JAVB8 WIL901C. 90| 

'Notwithstanding this high and honourable eonduct of Mf 
MTilson, and the active exertions which he made in favour of 
liiB adopted country, he had enemies, whose slanders he did 
not escape. It was especially charged against him, that h« 
Mras opposed to the declaration of independence. This, how- 
ever, has been amply refuted by gentlemen of the highest 
fttaudin^ in the country, who were intimately acquainted with 
his views and feelings on that important subject. Many who 
voted for the measure, and who sincerely believed in the ulti* 
mate expediency of it, were of the opinion, that it was brought 
forward prematurely. But when, at length, they found the 
voice of the nation loudly demanding such a measure, and 
«aw a spirit abroad among the people determined to sustain 
it, they no longer hesitated to vote in its favour. Mr. Wil- 
son, probably, belonged to this class. Though at first doubt- 
ful whether the state of the country would justify such a mea- 
sure, he at length became satisfied that existing circumstances 
rendered it necessary ; and accordingly it received his vote. 
Notwithstanding that a declaration of independence had 
been spoken of for some time previously to the fourth of 
July, 1776, no motion was brought forward in congress re- 
specting it, until the 7th of June. This motion was referred 
the following day to a committee of the whole, but it was 
postponed until the tenth of June. On the arrival of the 
tenth of that month, the following resolution was offered : 
^ That these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, 
free and independent states ; that they are absolved from all 
allegiance to the British crown ; and that all political con- 
nexion between them and the state of Great Britain is, and 
ought to be, totally dissolved.'* The consideration of this 
resolution was postponed to the first of July, on which day 
it was expected that the committee which was appointed to 
draft a declaration, and which consisted of Mr. Jefferson, J. 
Adams, Dr. Franklin, and R. R. Livingston, would report. 

At length, the first of July arrived, when the motipn was 
further discussed, and the question taken in committee of the 
whole. The declaration received the votes of all the states 
excepting Pennsylvania and Delaware. The delegates of the 

904 rSllN8TI.TAinA dblbgatioii. 

former state were four to three in the opposition ; the dele- 
gates of the latter, Thomas M'Kean and George Read, were 
dirided, the 6ne in favour of the measure, the other opposed 
to it. The final question was postponed from day to day, 
ontU the fourth of July, when it was taken, and an unanimous 
▼ote of all the states was obtained. The day was rainy. 0£ 
the Pennsylvania delegation, Messrs. Morris and Dickinson 
were absent, and consequently the vote of Pennsylvania was 
now in favour of the measure, Messrs. Wilson, Franklin, and 
Morton, being in favour of it, and Messrs. Humphreys and 
Willing being opposed to it. Fortunately, at this juncture, 
Caesar Rodney, a delegate from Delaware, arrived. He had 
been sent for by an express from Mr. M^Rean, and arrived in 
time to vote with that gentleman, in opposition to their col* 
league, George Read. 

Thus, an unanimous vote of the thirteen colonies was se* 
cured. Thus, a question was decided which deeply agitated 
the whole American community, and the decision of which 
was fraught with blessings to the country, which will go down, 
we trust, to the end of time. 

In a preceding paragraph we have intimated that a charge 
was brought against Mr. Wilson of being opposed to the de- 
claration of independence. Had such been his sentiments, 
who could have charged him with a want of patriotism ? The 
truth is, there were hundreds, and even thousands, at that 
day, in America, as strongly attached to her cause, as friend- 
ly to her liberties, and as firmly resolved never to surrender 
the rights which the God of nature had given them, as were 
those who voted in favour of a declaration of independence, 
but who yet thought the time had not arrived when the wisest 
policy dictated such a measure. Mr. Wilson was, indeed, 
not altogether of this class. He would perhaps not have 
brought forward the subject at so early a day ; but when it 
was brought forward, he voted in favour of it, on the first of 
July, even in opposition to the majority of his colleagues; 
and on the fourth, as it happened, fortunately for the cause of 
liis country, in a majority. 

Another charge has also been brought against Mr. WilsoOy 


{viz.) a participation in the combination which was formed 
against General Washington, towards the close of the year 
1TT7. This conspiracy, if it may be so called, originated in 
the discontent of many who felt envious at the exalted station 
Mrhich Washington occupied ; and was founded, at this time, 
upon the high military reputation which General Gates had 
acquired by the capitulation of Saratoga, and the gloomy as- 
pect of affairs in the region where Washington was in parti- 
cular command. In this combination, it was supposed seve- 
ral members of congress, and a very few officers of the army, 
were concerned. Among these officers, it is believed. Gene 
ral Gates himself may be included. '* He had not only omit 
ted,*' says Marshall, in his life of Washington, " to communi- 
cate to that general the successes of his army, after the vic- 
tory of the seventh of October had opened to him the pros- 
pect of finally destroying the enemy opposed to him ; but he 
carried on a correspondence with General Conway, in which 
that officer had expressed himself with great contempt of 
the commander in chief, and on the disclosure of this circum- 
stance, General Gates had demanded the name of the in- 
former, in a letter expressed in terms by no means concilia- 
tory, and which was accompanied by the very extraordinary 
circumstance of being passed through congress. 

** The state of Pennsylvania, too, chagrined at losing its 
capita], and forgetful of its own backwardness in strengthen- 
ing the army, which had twice fought superior numbers in 
its defence, furnished many discontented individuals, who 
supposed it to be the fault of General Washington that he 
had not, with an army inferior to that of the enemy in num- 
bers, and in every equipment, effected the same result, which 
had been produced in the north, by a continental army, in 
itself much stronger than its adversary, and so re-inforced by 
militia as to amount to three times the number opposed to 
them. The legislature of that state, on the report that Gene- 
ral Washington was moving into winter quarters, addressed 
a remonstrance to congress on the subject, which manifested, 
in very intelligible terms, their dissatisfaction with the com- 
mander in chief. About the same time, a new board of war 
3R »• 



was created, of which General Gates was appointed the pre 
sident ; and General Mifflin, who was supposed to be also of 
the party unfriendly to Washington, was one of its number. 
General Conway, who was, perhaps, the only brigadier in 
the army that had joined this faction, was appointed inspector 
general, and was elevated above brigadiers older than himself, 
to the rank of major general. There were other evidences 
that, if the hold which the commander in chief had taken of 
the affections and confidence of the army, and of the nation, 
could be shaken, the party in congress which was disposed 
to change their general, was lar from being contemptible in 
point of numbers." 

Fortunately for America, it was impossible to loosen this 
hold. Even the northern army clung to Washington as the 
saviour of their country. The only effect of this combina- 
tion was, to excite a considerable degree of resentment, which 
was directed entirely against those who were believed to be 
engaged in it General Gates himself, in consequence of 
this, and of the disastrous battle of Camden, fell into obscu- 
rity ; and General Conway, the great calumniator of General 
Washington, scorned by honourable men, on account of his 
cowardice at the battle of Germantown, and other equally 
unworthy conduct, resigned his commission on the 28th of 
April, 1T78. 

The charge brought against Mr. Wilson, of having been 
hostile to General Washington, and of having participated in 
the combination formed against him, was wholly unfounded. 
The evidence on this point is complete. 

Of the celebrated convention of 1787, which was assembled 
in Philadelphia, for the purpose of forming the constitution 
of the United States, Mr. Wilson was a member. During 
the long deliberations of the convention on that instrument, 
he rendered the most important services. He possessed 
great political sagacity and foresight, and being a fluent 
speaker, he did much to settle upon just principles the great 
and important points which naturally arose in the formation 
of a new government. On the twenty-third of July, the con- 
vention resolved, *< That the proceedings of the convention 


1AMK8 WILSOK. 307 

for the establishment of a national govemment, except what 
respects the supreme executive, be referred to a committee 
for the purpose 'of reporting a constitution, conformably to 
the proceedings aforesaid." In pursuance of this resolution, 
a committee was appointed on the following day, consisting 
of Messrs. Wi]soh, Rutledge, Randolph, Gorham, and Ells- 
worth, who accordingly, on the sixth of August, reported the 
draught of a constitution. 

When the state convention of Pennsylvania assembled to 
ratify the federal constitution, Mr. Wilson was returned a 
member of that body, and as he was the only one who had 
assisted in forming that instrument, it devolved upon him to 
explain to the convention the principles upon which it was 
founded, and the great objects which it had in view. Thus he 
powerfully contributed to the ratification of the constitution 
in that state. The following language, which he used in 
conclusion of his speech, in favour of this ratification, de- 
serves a place here : '* It is neither extraordinary nor unex- 
pected, that the constitution offered to your consideration, 
should meet with opposition. It is the nature of man to 
pursue his own interest, in preference to the public good ; 
and I do not mean to make any personal reflection when I 
add, that it is the interest of a very numerous, powerful, and 
respectable body, to counteract and destroy the excellent 
work produced by the late convention. All the officers of 
government, and all the appointments for the administration 
of justice, and the collection of the public revenue, which are 
transferred from the individual to the aggregate sovereignty 
of the states, will necessarily turn the stream of influence and 
emolument into a new channel. Every person, therefore^ 
who enjoys, or expects to enjoy, a place of profit under the 
present establishment, will object to the proposed innova- 
tion ; not, in truth, because it is injurious to the liberties of 
his country, but because it afifects his schemes of wealth and 
consequence. I will confess, indeed, that I am not a blind 
admirer of this plan of government, and that there are some 
parts of it which, if my wish had prevailed, would certainly 
have been altered. Bat, when I reflect how widely men dif- 


far in their opinions, and that every man, (and the observa- 
tion applies likewise to every state,) has an equal pretension 
to assert his own, I am satisfied that any thing nearer to per- 
fection could not have been accomplished. If there are er- 
rors, it should be remembered, ^hat the seeds of reformation 
are sown in the work itself, and a concurrence of t^ro thirds 
of the congress may, at any time, introduce alterations anci 
amendments. Regarding it, then, in every point of view, 
with a candid and disinterested mind, I am bold to assert, that 
it is the best form of government which has ever been offered 
to the world.*^ 

After the ratification of the federal constitution in Penn- 
sylvania, a convention was called to alter the constitution of 
that state, to render it conformable to that of the United 
States. Mr. Wilson was one of the committee appointed to 
prepare the form of a constitution, and upon him devolved 
the task of making the draught. 

In the year 1789, General Washington appointed Mr. Wil- 
son a judge olr the supreme court of the United States, under 
the federal constitution. In this exalted station he was asso- 
ciated with John Jay, who was placed at the head of the de- 
partment, and Judge Rutledge, of South Carolina, William 
Gushing, of Massachusetts, Robert Harrison, of Maryland, 
and John Blair, of Virginia. In this office he continued until 
his death, which occurred on the twenty-eighth of August, 
1798, at Edenton, in North Carolina, while on a circuit attend- 
ing to his duties as a judge. He is supposed to have been 
about fifty-six years of age. 

In stature. Judge Wilson was about six feet. His appear- 
ance was dignified and respectable, and in his manners he 
was not ungracefuL As a lawyer, he stood at the head oi 
his profession, while he practised at the Philadelphia bar 
He was not less eminent as a judge on the bench. He enter- 
ed with great readiness into the causes which came before 
him, and seldom did he fail to throw light on points of law of 
the most difficult and perplexing character. 

In his domestic relations, such was his happy and consist^ 
ent course, as to secure the respect and affisction of his familf 

OBOROB ROflS. 909 

and friends. Towards all with whom he had intercourse 
from abroad, he was friendly and hospitable, and within his 
family he was affectionate and indulgent. He was distin- 
gtiished for great integrity of character, and for an inviolate 
regard for truth. Mr. Wilson was twice married, the first 
time to a daughter of William Bird, of Berks county, and the 
second time to a daughter of Mr. Ellis Gray, of Boston. By 
the former wife, he had six children ; and by the latter one. 
Two only of these children are now living, the one at Phila- 
delphia, the other in the state of New-York. After the death 
of Mr. Wilson, his wife became connected in marriage with 
Dr. Thomas Bartlett, of Boston, whom she accompanied to 
England, where she died in 1807. 


The last gentleman who belonged to the Pennsylvania de- 
legation, at the time the members of the revolutionary con- 
gress affixed their signatures; to the declaration of indepen- 
dence, was George Ross. He was the son of a clergyman 
by the same name, who presided over the episcopal church 
at New Castle, in the state of Delaware, in which town he was 
bom in the year 1730. 

At an early age, he gave indications of possessing talents 
of a superior order. These indications induced his father to 
give him the advantages of a good education. At the age of 
eighteen he entered upon the study of law, under the super- 
intendence of an elder brother, who was at that time in the 
practice of the profession, in the city of Philadelphia. 

Soon after being admitted to the bar, he established himself 
at Lancaster, at that time near the western limits of civiliza- 
tion. He soon became connected in marriage with a lady of 
a respectable family. For several years he continued to de- 
vote himself, with great zeal, to the duties of his profession, 


la wbichy at length, he attained a high reputation, bodi as a 
counsellor and an advocate. 

Mr. Ross commenced his political career in 1768, in whick 
year he vras first returned as a representative to the assembly 
of Pennsylvania. Of this body he continued to be re-elected a 
member, untU the year 1774, when he was chosen in connec* 
lion with several other gentlemen, a delegate to the celebra- 
ted congress which met at Philadelphia. At the time he wac 
appointed to a seat in this congress, he was also appointed to 
report to the assembly of the province, a set of instructions, 
by which the conduct of himself and colleagues were to be 
directed. The instructions thus drafted and reported, were 
accepted by the assembly. In concluding these instructions^ 
the assembly observed : " that the trust reposed in you is of 
such a nature, and the modes of executing it may be so di« 
versified in the course of your deliberations, that it is scarcely 
possible to give you particular instructions respecting it. We 
shall, therefore, only in general direct, that you are to meet in 
congress the committees of the several British colonies, at such 
time and place as shall be generally agreed on, to consult toge- 
ither on the present critical and alarming situation and state of 
the colonies, and that you, with them, exert your utmost en- 
deavours to form and adopt a plan, which shall afford the best 
prospect of obtaining a redress of American grievances, as- 
certaining American rights, and establishing that union and 
harmony, which is most essential to the welfare and happi- 
ness of both countries. And in doing this, you are strictly 
charged to avoid every thing indecent or disrespectful to the 
mother state." 

Mr. Ross continued to represent the state of Pennsylvania 
in the national legislature, until January, 1777, when, on ac- 
count of indisposition, he was obliged to retire. During \oa 
congressional career, his conduct met the warmest approba- 
tion of his constituents. He was a statesman of enlarged 
views, and under the influence of a general patriotism, he 
cheerfully sacrificed his private interests for the public good. 
The high sense entertained by the inhabitants of the county of 
Lancaster* of his zeal for the good of his country, and of bis 

«SORGS R088. 311 

«<Mi8tituent8 in particular, was expressed in the following re- 
solution : " Resolyed, that the sum of one hundred and fifty 
pounds, out of the county stock, he forthwith transmitted to 
George Ross, one of the members of assembly for this county, 
and one of the delegates for this colony in the continental 
congress ; and that he be requested to accept the same, as a 
testimony from this county, of their sense of his attendance on 
the public business, to his great private loss, and of their appro- 
bation of his conduct. Resolved, that if it be more agreeable, 
Mr. Ross purchase with part of the said money, a genteel piece 
of plate, ornamented as he thinks proper, to remain with him, 
as a testimony of the esteem this county has for him, by reason 
of his patriotic conduct, in the great struggle of American li« 
berty." Such a testimony of respect and affection, on the 
part of his constituents, must have been not a little gratifying 
to the feelings of Mr. Ross. He felt it his duty, however, to 
decline accepting the present, offering as an apology for so do-* 
ing, that he considered it as the duty of every man, and espe* 
dally of every representative of the people, to contribute, by 
every means within his power, to the welfare of his country^ 
without expiecting pecuniary rewards. 

The attendance of Mr. Ross in congress, did not prevent 
him from meeting with the provincial legislature. Of this 
latter body, he was an active, energetic, and influential mem* 
her. In the summer of 1775, it was found by the general as- 
sembly, that the circumstances of the state required the adop- 
tion of some decisive measures, especially in respect to put* 
ting the city of Philadelphia, and the province, in a state of 
defence. A committee was accordingly appointed, of which 
Mr. Ross was one, to report what measures were expedient* 
In a few days that committee did report, recommending to 
the people to associate for the protection of their lives, and 
liberty, and property, and ur^ng upon the several counties o 
the province the importance of collecting stores of ammuni* 
tion and arms. A resolution was also offered, providing for 
the payment of all such associations as should be called out to 
repel any attacks made by the British troops. To carry 
these plans into effect, a general committee of public safety 



was appointed, and clothed with the necessary anthority. TTo 
this committee Mr. Ross was attached, and was one of its most 
active and efficient members. He also belonged to another 
important committee, viz. that of grievances. 

On the dissolution of the proprietary government in Penn- 
sylvania, a general convention was assembled, in which Mr. 
Ross represented the county of Lancaster. Here, again, he 
was called to the discharge of most important duties, beingr 
appointed to assist in preparing a declaration of rights on be* 
half of the state, for forming rules of order for the convention* 
and for defining and settling what should be considered high, 
treason and misprision of treason against the state, and the 
punishment which should be inflicted for those offences. 

In the year 1779, Mr. Ross was appointed a judge of the 
court of admiralty for the state of Pennsylvania. Tfab was 
on the 14th of April. He was permitted to enjoy, however, 
the honourable station which he now filled but a short time- 
In the month of July following, he was suddenly and violently 
attacked by the gout, which terminated his useful life, in the 
fiftieth year of his age. 

In respect to the character of Judge Ross, we have little to 
add to the preceding account. As a lawyer, even before the 
revolution, he was among the first of his profession, a rank 
which he continued to hold, while he practised at the bar. 
As a politician, he was zealous, patriotic, and consistent As 
a judge, he was learned and upright, and uncommonly skilful 
in the despatch of business. He comprehended with ease 
eauses of the greatest intricacy, and formed his decisions, 
which often displayed much legal knowledge, with great 
promptness. It is to be added to his honour, that while he 
was thus distinguifhed abroad, he was characterized in the 
fulfilment of hiiSi domestic duties, by an uncommonly kind and 
affectionate disposition. 



Cjesar Rodnet, 
George Read, 
Thomas M'Kean. 


CiESAR Rodney, the first of the delegation from Dela- 
ware, was a native of that state, and was born about the 
y^ear 1730. His birth-place was Dover. The family, from 
which he was descended, was of ancient date, and is honour 
bly spoken of in the history of early times. We read of 
Sir Walter De Rodeney, of Sir George De Rodeney, and 
Sir Henry De Rodeney, with several others of the same 
lime, even earlier than the year 12^. Sir Richard De Rof 
deney accompanied the gallant Richard Coeur de Lion in his 
crusade to the Holy Land, where he fell, while fighting at 
ihe seige of Acre. 

Li subsequent years, the wealth and power of the family 
continued to be great Intermarriages took place between 
tome of the members of it, and several illustrious and noble 
families of England. During the civil wars, about the time 
of the commonwealth, the l&mily became considerably re 
duced, and its members were obliged to seek their fortunes 
in new employments, and in distant countries. Soon after 
the settlement of Pennsylvania by William Penn, William 
Rodney, one of the descendants of this illustrious familjr 
28 . 27 


removed to that province and after a short residence in Phi- 
ladelphia, settled in Kent, a county upon the Delaware. 
This gentleman died in the year 1708, leaving a considerable 
fortune, and eight children, the eldest of whom is the subject 
of the following sketch. Mr. Rodney inherited from his 
father a large landed estate, M'hich was entailed upon him, 
according to the usages of distinguished families at that day. 
At the early age of twenty-eight years, such was his popu- 
larity, he was appointed high sheriff in the county in which 
he resided, and on the expiration of his term of service, he 
was created a justice of the peace, and a judge of the lowei 
courts. In 1762, and perhaps at a still earlier date, he repre- 
sented the county of Kent in the provincial legislature. 
In this station )ie entered with great zeal and activity into 
the prominent measures of the day. In the year 1765, th*« 
first general congress was assembled, as is well known, « 
New- York, to consult upon the measures which were neces 
sary to be adopted in consequence of the stamp act, and 
other oppressive acts of the British government. To this 
congress, Mr. Rodney, Mr. M*Kean, and Mr. Kollock, were 
unanimously appointed by the provincial assembly of Dela- 
ware to represent that province. On their return from New- 
York, they reported to the assembly their proceedings, 
under the instructions which they had received. For the 
faithful and judicious discharge of the trust reposed in them, • 
the assembly unanimously tendered them their thanks, and 
voted them a liberal compensation. 

The tumults caused in America by the stamp act, we have 
had frequent occasion to notice, as well as the joy consequent 
upon the repeal of that odious measure. In this universal 
joy, the inhabitants of Delaware largely participated. On 
the meeting of their legislature, Mr. Rodney, Mr. M^Kean, 
and Mr. Read, were appointed to express their thanks to the 
king, for his kindness in relieving them, in common with 
their country, from a burden which they had considered 
as exceedingly oppressive. In the address which was report- 
ed by the above committee, and forwarded, by direction 
of the assembly, to England, we find the following language* 


** ^We cannot help glorying in being the subjects of a king, 
that has made the preservation of the civil and religious 
rights of his people, and the established constitution, the 
foundation and constant rule of his government, and the 
safety, ease, and prosperity of his people, his chiefest care ; 
of a king, whose mild and equal administration is sensibly 
felt and enjoyed in the remotest parts of his dominion. 
The clouds which lately hung over America are dissipated. 
Our complaints have been heard, and our grievances re- 
pressed ; trade and commerce again flourish. Our hearts 
4re animated with the warmest wishes for the prosperity of 
the mother country, for which our affection is unbound- 
ed, and your faithful subjects here are transported with joy 
and gratitude. Such are the blessings we may justly expect 
will ever attend the. measures of your nfajesty, pursuing 
steadily the united and true interests of all your people, 
throughout your wide extended empire, assisted with the advice 
and support of a British parliament, and a virtuous and wise 
ministry. We most humbly beseech your majesty, graciously 
to accept the strongest assurances, that having thejustest 
sense of the many favours we have received from your royal 
benevolence, during the course of your majesty's reign, and 
now much our present happiness is owing to your paternal 
love and care for your people; we will at all times most 
cheerfully contribute to your majesty's service, to the utmost 
of our abilities, when your royal requisitions, as heretofore* 
shall be made known ; that your majesty will always find 
such returns of dtity and gratitude from us, as the best of 
kings may expect from the most loyal subjects, and that you 
will demonstrate to all the world, that the support of your 
majesty's government, and the honour tnd interests of the 
British nation, are our chief care and concern, desiring no- 
thing more than the continuance of our wise and excellent 
constitution, in the same happy, firm, and envied situation, 
in which it was delivered down to us from our ancestors, and 
your majesty's predecessors." 
This address, according to the agent who presented it, wai 

M6 DuaiwAms AsumATioir. 

kiiuSy received by bit majeety, who ezpreised bU ykomwan 
by reading it OTer twice. 

Unfoftunately for the British government, but perhaps 
fortunately in the issue for the America colonics, the repeal 
of the stamp act was followed by other oppressive measures, 
which caused a renewal of the former excitement ia the 
American colonies, and led to that revolution, which deprived 
Great Britain of one of her fairest possessions. The inha- 
bitants of Delaware were for a long time anxious for a re- 
concUiation between the mother country and the American 
•olonies ; still they understood too well their unalienable 
righto, and had too high a regard for them, tamely to relin- 
quish them. In a subsequent address, prepared by the same 
gentlemen who had drafted the former, they renewed their 
protestations of loyalty; but at the same time took the 
liberty of remonstrating against the proceedings of the Bri- 
tish parliament : 

^^ If our fellow-subjects of Great Britain, who derive no 
authority from us, who cannot in our humble opinion repre- 
sent us, and to whom we will not yield in loyalty and affec- 
tion to your majesty, can at their will and pleasure, of right, 
give and grant away our property ; if they enforce an impli- 
cit obedience to every order or act of theirs for that purpose, 
and deprive all, or any of the assemblies on this continent, 
of the power of legislation, for differing with them in opinion 
in matters which intimately affect their rights and interests, 
and every thing that is dear and valuable to Englishmen, we 
cannot imagine a case more miserable ; we cannot think that 
we shalThave even the shadow of liberty left. We conceive 
it to be an inherent right in your majesty's subjects, derived 
to them from God end nature, handed down from their ances- 
tors, and eonfirmed by your royal predecessors and the con- 
stitution, in person, or by their representatives, to give and 
grant to their sovereigns those things which their own la- 
bours and their own cares have acquired and saved, and in 
such proportions and at such times, as the national honour 
u&d interest may require. Your majesty's faithful subjects 
of this government have enjoyed this inestimable privilege 


^uninterrapted from its first existence, till of late. Thej 
Iiave at all times cheerfully contributed to the utmost of their 
abilities for your majesty's service, as often as your royal 
requisitions were made known ; and they cannot now, but 
^urith the greatest uneasiness and distress of mind, part with 
tbe power of demonstrating their loyalty and affection to 
their beloved king." 

About this time, Mr. Rodney, in consequence of ill health, 
"WHS obliged to relinquish his public duties, and seek medical 
advice in the city of Philadelphia. A cancerous affection had 
some time previously made its appearance on his nose, and 
"was fast spreading itself over one side of his face. Fortunate* 
ly, the skill of the physicians of Philadelphia afforded him 
considerable relief, and deterred him from making a voyage 
to England to seek professional advice in that coiAtry. In 
1760, Mr. Rodney was elected speaker of the house of repre* 
sen tali ves, an t^ffice which he continued to fill for several 
years. About the same time he was appointed chairman of 
the committee of correspondence with the other colonies. In 
the discharge of the duties of this latter office, he communi- 
cated with gentlemen of great influence in all parts of the 
country, and by the intelligence which he received fVom them, 
and which he communicated to his constituents, contributed 
to that union of sentiment which, at length, enabled the colo- 
nies to achieve their independence. 

Among the persons which composed the well known con* 
gress of 1774, Mr. Rodney was one, having for his colleagues 
. the gentlemen alrebdy named, viz. Thomas M'Koan and 
George Read. The instructions given to this delegation re* 
quired them to consult and determine upon such measures as 
might appear most wise for the colonies tab adopt, in order to 
obtain relief from the sufferings they were experiencing. On 
the meeting of this congress, on the fifth of September, in 
the year already named, Mr. Rodney appeared and took bb 
seat. He was soon after appointed on several important 
committees, in the discharge of which he exhibited great 
fidelity, and as a reward for his services he received the 

thanks of the provincial assembly, together with a re-appoint* 

27 • 


nent to the same high station in the following year. He 
wae ako appointed to the office of brigadier general in the 

At the time that the important question of independence 
came before congress, Mr. Rodney was absent on a tour^into 
the southern part of Delaware, having for his object to quiet 
the discontent which prevailed in that section of the country^ 
and to prepare the minds of the people to a change of their 
government* On the question of independence, his col* 
leagues, Mr. M^Kean and Mr. Read, who were at this time 
in attendance upon congress, in Philadelphia, were divided. 
Aware of the importance of an unanimous vote of the states 
in favour of a declaration of independence* and acquainted 
with the views of Mr. Rodney, Mr. M^Kean dispatched a 
special ilbssenger to summon him to be present in his seat 
on the occurrence of the trying question. With great effort, 
Mr. Rodney reached Philadelphia just in time to give his 
rote, and thus to secure an entire unanimity in that act of 
treason. In the autumn of 1776, a convention was called in 
Delaware, for the purpose of framing a new constitution, and 
of appointing delegates to the succeeding congress. In this 
convention Uiere was a majority opposed to Mr. Rodney, 
who was removed from congress, and another appointed in 
his stead. Such ingratitude on the part of a people was not 
common during the revolutionary struggle. In the present 
instance, the removal of this gentleman was principally at- 
tributable to the friends of the royal government, who were 
quite numerous, especially in the lower counties, and who 
contrived to enlist die prejudices of some true repubheans in 
accomplishing their object. 

Although thus mmoved from congress, Mr. Rodney still 
continued a member of the council of safety, and of the com- 
mittee of inspection, in both of which offices he employed 
himself with great diligence, especially in collecting supplies 
for the troops of the state, which were at that time wi& 
Washington, in the state of New«Jersey. In 1777, he w- 
paired in person to the camp near Princeton, where he re* 


mained for nearly two months, in the most acdve and labori- 
orus services. 

In the autumn of this year, Mr. Rodney was again appoint* 
ed as a delegate from Delaware to congress, but before taking 
liis seat he was elected president of the state. Thi^ was an 
office of great responsibility, demanding energy and prompt* 
ness, especially as the legislature of the state was tardy in 
its movements, and the loyalists were not unfrequently ex- 
cnting troublesome insurrections. Mr. Rodney continued 
in the office of presiclent of the state for about four years. 
During this period, he had frequent communications from 
^''ashington, in relation to the distressed condition of the 
army. In every emergency, he was ready to assist to the 
extent of his power ; and by the influence which he exerted, 
and by the energy which he manifested, he succeeded in af- 
fording the most prompt and efficient aid. The honourable 
course which he pursued, his firm and yet liberal conduct, in 
circumstances the most difficult and trying, greatly endeared 
him to the people of Delaware, who universally expressed 
their regret when, in the year 1782, he felt himself obliged, 
on account of the arduous nature of his duties, and the deli- 
cate state of his health, to decline a re-election. 

Shortly after retiring from the presidency, he was elected 
to congress, but it does not appear that he ever after took 
his seat in that body. The cancer which had for years af- 
flicted him, and which for a long time previously had so 
spread over his face as to oblige him to wear a green silk 
screen to conceal its ill appearance, now increased its ra- 
vages, and in the early part of the year 1783» brought him ta 
the grave. 

It would be unnecessary, were it in yup power, to add any 
thin^ further on the character of Mr. Rodney. He was, as 
our biographical notice clearly indicates, a man of great in- 
tegrity, and of pure patriotic feeling. He delighted, when 
necessary, to sacrifice his private interests for the public 
good. He was remarkably distinguished for a degree of 
good humour and vivacity ; and in generosiQr of character 
was an ornament to human nature. 



George Read was a natire of the province of Maryland, 
where he was born in the year 1734. His grandfather 'vras 
an Irishman, who resided in the city of Dublin, and was pos- 
sessed of a considerable fortune. His son, John Read, the 
father of the subject of the present memoir, having emigrated 
lo America, took up his residence in Cecil county, where he 
pursued the occupation of a planter. Not long after the 
birth of his eldest son, he removed with his family into the 
province of Delaware, and settled in the county of Newcas* 
tie. Mr. Read designing his son for one of the learned pro- 
fessions, placed him in a seminary at Chester, in the province 
of Pennsylvania. Having there acquired the rudiments of 
the learned languages, he was transferred to the care of that 
learned and accomplished scholar, the Rev. Dr. Allison, a 
gen^tleman eminently qualified to superintend the education 
of young men. With this gentleman young Mr. Read con- 
tinued his studies until his seventeenth year, when he enter- 
ed the office of John Moland, Esq. a distinguished lawyer in 
the city of Philadelphia, for the purpose of acquiring a know- 
ledge of the legal profession. The intense application, and 
the sober habits of Mr. Read, were at this time highly ho- 
nourable to him. While yet a student, he gave promise of 
future eminence in his profession. Mr. Moland reposed. so 
great confidence in his abilities, that even before he had fin- 
ished his preparatory studies, he entrusted to him a consider- 
able share of his attorney business. 

In 1753, at the early age of nineteen years, Mr. Read was 
admitted to the bar. On this event he performed an act of 
singular generosity in favour of the other children of th« 
family. As the eldest son, he was entitled, by the existing 
laws, to two shares of his father's estate, but he relinquished 
all his rights in favour of his brothers, assigning as a reason 
for this act, his belief that he had received his proper portion 
in the education which had been given him. 

In . the following year, he commenced the practice of law^ 

in the town of Newcastle, and although surrounded hy gen- 
tlemen of high attainments in the profession, he soon ac^ 
quired the confidence of the public, and obtained a respec^ 
mhle share of business. In 1763, he was appointed to suc- 
ceed John Ross, as attorney general of the three lower 
counties on the Delaware. This office, Mr. Read held until 
lim year 1T75, when, on being elected to congress, he re* 
signed it. 

During the same year, Mr. Read was connected by mar" 
riage with a daughter of the Rev. John Ross, a clergyman, 
who had long presided over an episcopal church, in the town 
of Newcastle. The character of Mrs. Read was in every 
respect excellent. She possessed a vigorous understanding. 
In her person she was beautiful, and to elegant manners was 
added a deep and consistent piety. She was also imbued 
with the spirit of a pure patriotism. During the revolutionary 
war, she was often called to suffer many privations, and was 
frequently exposed with her infant family to imminent danger, 
by reason of the predatory incursions of the British. Yet, in 
the darkest hour, and amidst the most appalting danger; her 
fortitude was unshaken, and her courage undaunted. 

In the year 1765, Mr. Read was elected a representative 
from Newcastle county to the general assembly of Delaware, 
a post which He occupied for twelve years. In this station, 
and indeed through his whole political course, he appears to 
have been actuated neither by motives of self-interest nor 
fear. By an adherence to the royal cause, he had reason to 
anticipate office, honour, and wealth. But his patriotism and 
integrity were of too pure a character to be influenced by 
worldly preferment, or pecuniary reward. The question 
with him was, not what a worldly policy might dictate, but 
what reason and justice and religion would approve. 

On the first of August, 1774, Mr. Read was chosen a mem- 
ber of the continental congress, in connexion with Caesar 
Rodney, and Thomas M'Kean. To this station he was an- 
nually re-elected, during the whole revolutionary war, and 
was indeed present in the national assembly, except for a few 

short intervals, during the whole of that period. 


It has already been noticed, that when the great question 
of independence came before congress, Mr. Read was op- 
posed to the measure, and ultimately gave his vote ag-ainst 
it This he did from a sense of duty : not that he w^as 
unfriendly to the liberties of his country, or was actuated by 
motives of selfishness or cowardice. But he deemed the 
agitation of the question, at the time, premature and inex- 
pedient In these sentiments, Mr. Read was not alone. Many 
gentlemen in the colonies, characterized for great wisdom, 
and a decided patriotism, deemed the measure impolitic, and 
would have voted, had they been in congress, as he did. The 
idle bodings of these, fortunately, were never realised. They 
proved to be false prophets, but they were as genuine 
patriots as others. Nor were they, like some in similar cir- 
cumstances, dissatisfied with results, differing from those 
which they had predicted. On the contrary, they rejoiced 
to find their anticipations were groundless. When, at length, 
the measure had received the sanction of the great national 
council, and the time arrived for signing the instrument, Mr. 
Read affixed his signature to it, with all the cordiality of 
those who had voted in favour of the declaration itself. 

In the following September, Mr. Read was elected presi- 
dent of the convention which formed the first constitution 
of the state of Delaware. On the complefion of this, he 
was offered the executive chair, but chose at that time to de- 
cline the honour. In 17T7, the governor, Mr. M^Kinley, 
was captured by a detachment of British troops, when Mr. 
M'Kean was called to take his place in this responsible office, 
the duties of which he continued to discharge, until the release 
of the former gentleman. 

In 1779, ill health required him to retire for a season from 
public employment. In 1782, however, he accepted the ap- 
pointment of judge of the court of appeals in admiralty cases, 
an office in which he continued till the abolition of the court 

In 1787, he represented the state of Delaware in the con- 
vention which framed the constitution of the United States, 
under which he was immediately elected a member of the 
Senate. The duties of this exalted station he discharged till 


17939 when he accepted of a seat on the bench of die sn- 
*prenie court of the state of Delaware, as chief justice. In 
this station he continued till the autumn of 1708, when he 
^nras suddenly summoned to another world. 

In all the offices with which Mr. Read was entrusted by 

Ills fellow citizens, he appeared with distinguished ability ; 

l>ut it was as a judge that he stood pre-eminent. For this 

station he was peculiarly fitted, not only by his unusual legal 

attainments, but by his singular patience in hearing all that 

coimcil might deem important to bring forward, and by a 

cool and dispassionate deliberation of every circumstance 

which could bear upon the point in question. To this day 

his decisions are much respected in Delaware, and are often 

recurred to, as precedents of no doubtful authority. 

In private life, the character of Mr. Read was not less 
estimable and respectable. He was consistent in all the rela- 
tions of life, strict in the observance of his moral duties, 
and characterized' by an expanded benevolence towards all 


Thomas M^Kean was the second son of William M*Kean, 
a native of Ireland, who sometime after his emigration to 
America, was married to an Irish lady, with whom he settled 
in the township of New-London, county of Chester, and the 
province of Pennsylvania, where Thomas was born, on the 
nineteenth of March, 1734. 

At the age of nine years, he was placed under the care of 
the learned Dr. Allison, who was himself from Ireland, and 
of whose celebrated institution at New-London, we have al- 
ready had occasion to speak, in terms of high commendation. 
Besides an unusually accurate and profound acquaintance 
with the Latin and Greek classics. Dr. Allison was well in 


elected president 6f the congress in preference to Jsmes Oiie^ 
by only a single vote. In conclusion of the businesst &»d 
when the members were called upon to sign the proceedings, 
Mr. Raggles, with a few others, refused to afix their signa- 

At this moment, Mr. M*Kean rose, and with great dignity, 
hut with deep feeling, addressing himself to the president, 
requested him to assign his reasons, for refusing to sign the. 
petitions. The president refused, on the ground that he was 
not bound in duty to state the cause of his objections. So- 
unconrteous a refusal, especially as unanimity and hsrmosfy 
had prevailed during the session, called forth a rejoinder from 
Mr. M'Kean, in which he pressed upon the president the im- 
portance of an explanation. At length, after a considerahle 
pause, Mr. Ruggles observed, that it was '' against his con 
science." *' Conscience T exclaimed Mr. M^Rean, as' he rose 
from his seat, ** conscience T' and he rung changes on the 
word so long and so loud, that at length the president, in a 
moment of irritation, gave Mr. M^Kean, in the presence of 
the whole congress, a challenge to fight him, which was in- 
stantly accepted. The president, however, had no more 
courage to fight than to sign the proceedings of congress; and 
the next morning he was seen wending his way through the 
streets of New-York, towards the province of MassachnsettB, 
the legislature of which, not long after, ordered him to be 

The only other member of the congress of 1765, who re- 
fused to sign the petitions, was Mr. Robert Ogden, at that 
time speaker of the house of assembly of New-Jersey. Thif 
gentleman, Mr. M^Kean strongly solicited in private to adopt 
a bold and manly course, by affixing his signature to the pro- 
ceedings of the congress. Arguments, however, were in 
vain ; yet he was reluctant that his constituents in New-Jer- 
sey should become acquainted with his refusaL It wsa^ 
however, communicated to them. The people of Newsfer- 
sey, justly indignant at his conduct, burnt his effigy in several 
towns, and on the meeting of the general aseemblyv he wsb 
removed from the office of speaker. As Mr. W&emXf in pus^ 

ft iiurongh New- Jersey, had wUbout hesitatioii, when asked, 
4C<»Rununicated the course which Mr. Ogden had taken, tlie 
latter gentleman, it is said, threatened him with a challenge, 
-which, however, ended much as had the precipitate challenge 
of the president from Massachusetts. 

We must necessarily pass over several years of the life of 
Mr* M'Kean, during which he was engaged in various public 
employments. A short time before the meeting of the con- 
gress, of 1774, Mr. M^Kean took up his permanent residence 
in the city of Philadelphia. The people of the lower coun- 
ties on the Delaware were anxious that he should represent 
4hem in that body, and he was accordingly elected as their 
delegate. On the 3d of September, he took his seat in that 
«ogust assemblage* From this time, until the 1st of Febru- 
ary, 17S3, he continued annually to be elected a member of 
the great national council, a period of eight years and a half. 
This was the only instance, it is said, in which any gentleman 
•was continued a member of congress, from 1774, to the 
signing of the preliminaries of peace in 17B3. It is also 
worthy of notice, that at the same time he represented the 
state of Delaware in congress, he was president of it in 1781, 
and from July, 1777, was the chief justice of Pennsylvania. 
Such an instance of the same gentleman being claimed as a 
citizen of two states, and holding high official stations in both 
at the same time, is believed to be without a parallel in the 
history of our country. 

As a member of congress, Mr. M'Kean was distinguished 
lor his comprehensive views of the subjects which occupied 
the deliberation of that body, and for the firmness and deci- 
sion which marked his conduct on all questions of great na- 
tional importance. On the 12th of June, 1776, he was 
appointed, in connexion with several others, a committee to 
prepare and digest the form of a confederation between the 
colonies. This committee reported a draught the same day ; 
but it was not finally agreed to until the 15th of November, 
1777, nor was it signed by a majority of the representatives 
itf the respective colonies, until the 9th of July, 1778. Even 
at this latter date» New- Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, had 

not authorized their delegates to ratify and ngn the in8tr«ft» 
Bent. But, in the November following, New-Jersey acceded 
to the confederation, and on the 22d of February, ITTO, Mr. 
H*Kean signed it in behalf of Delaware* Maryland ratified 
the act of union in March, 17B1. 

On the great question of a declaration of independence* 
Mr* M^Kean was, from the first, decidedly in farour of the 
measure. He subscribed his name to the original intmment 
deposited in the office of the secretary of state, but it was 
omitted in the copy published in the journals of congress* 
This omission it is now impossible satisfactorily to explain 
The following letter on the subject, addressed by Mr* 
M^Kean to Mr. Dallas of Pennsylvania, on the 26th of Sep- 
tember, 1790, will, it is believed, be thought a valuable docn* 

*' Your favour of the 19th instant, respecting the Declv 
ration of Independence, should not have remained so long 
unanswered, if the duties of my office of chief justice had 
not engrossed my whole attention, while the court was 

" For several years past, I have been taught to think less 
unfavourably of scepticism than formerly. So many things 
have been misrepresented, misstated, and erroneously print- 
ed, (with seeming authenticity,) under my own eye, as is 
my opinion to render those who doubt of every thing, nof 
altogether inexcusable : The publication of the Declaration 
•of Independence, on the 4th of July, 1776, as printed in the 
second volume of the Journals of Congress, page 241 ; and 
also in the acts of most public bodies since, so far as respects 
the names of the delegates or deputies, who made that De* 
claration, has led to the above reflection. By the printed 
publications referred to, it would appear, as if the fifiy-fivs 
gentlemen, whose names are there printed, and none other, 
were on that day personally present in congress, and assent* 
ing to the Declaration ; whereas, the truth is otherwise. The 
foUowing gentleman were not members of congress on tbs 

4th of July, 1776 ; namely, Matthew Tfaotnton, Benjamin 
Rush, Geofgc Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, and 
Oeorge Ross. The fire last named were not chosen delegated 
until the 20th day of the month ; the first, not until the 12th 
day of September following, nor did he take his seat in con- 
gress, until the 4th of November, whieh was four months 
after. The journals of Congress, (vol. ii. page 277 and 442.) 
wm well as those of the assembly of the state of Pennsylvania, 
(p. 63.) and of the general assembly of New-Hampshire, 
establish these facts. Although the six gentleman named 
had been very active in the American cause, and some of 
them, to my own knowledge, warmly in favour of indepen- 
dence, previous to the day on which it was declared, yet I 
personally know that none of them were in congress on thai 

** Modesty should not rob any man of his just honour, 
when by that honour, his modesty cannot be offended. My 
name is not in the printed journals of congress, as a party to 
the Declaration of Independence, and this, like an error in 
the first concoction, has vitiated most of the subsequent pub* 
Meations; and yet the fact is, that I was then a member of 
congress for the state of Delaware, was personally preaent 
in congress, and voted in favour of independence on the 4th 
of July, 1776, and signed the declaration after it had been 
engrossed on parchment, where my name, in my own hand 
writing, still appears. Henry Misner, of the state of New- 
York, was also in congress, and voted for independence. I 
do not know how the misstatement in the printed journal has 
happened. The manuscript public journal has no names 
annexed to the Declaration of Independence, nor has the 
stcret journal ; but it appears by the latter, that on the 19tli 
day of July, 1770, the congress directed that it should be 
engrossed on parchment, and signed by every member^ and 
that it was so produced on the 2d of August, and signed. 
This is interlined in the secret journal, in the hand of Charles 
Thompson, the secretary. The present secretary of state 
oi the United States, and myself, have lately inspected the 
jonmalsy and seea this. The journal was first printed by 
2U 28* 



Mr. John Duiilap» in 1778^ and probably copies, with the 
names then signed to it, were printed in August, 1776^ and 
that Mr. Dunlap printed the names from one of them. 

** I have now, sir, given you a true, though brief, history 
of this affair ; and, as you are engaged in publishing a new 
edition of the Laws of Pennsylvania, I am obliged to you 
for affording the favourable opportunity of conveying to yon 
this information, authorizing you to make any use of it yon 

" I am,»' &;c. 

In the life of Mr. Rodney, we have had occasion to re- 
mark that Mr. M'Kean and Mr. Read voted in opposition to 
each other, when the question of independence was put in 
committee of the whole, on the 1st of July. Delaware was 
thus divided. As it was improbable, in the estimation of Mr. 
M'Kean, that the views of Mr. Read would undergo a favour- 
able change before the final question should be taken, he be- 
came exceedingly anxious that Mr. Rodney, who he knew 
was in favour of the declaration, should be present. At his 
private expense he dispatched an express into Delaware to 
acquaint Mr. Rodney with the delicate posture of affairs^ 
and to urge him to hasten his return to Philadelphia. For- 
tunately, by an exertion which patriotism only could liave 
prompted him to make, that gentleman arrived in Philadel- 
phia, just as the members were entering the door of the state 
house, at the final discussion of the subject. Without even 
an opportunity of consulting Mr. M'Kean, on the momentous 
question before them, he entered the hall with his spurs on 
his boots. Scarcely had he taken his seat, before the report 
of the chairman of the committee of the whole was read, 
soon after which the great question was put. Mr. M'Kean 
and Mr. Rodney voted in favour on the part of* Delaware, 
and thus contributed to that unanimity among the colonies, 
on this great subject, without which a declaration had been 
worse than in vain. 

At the time congress passed the declaration of indepen- 
dence, the situation of Washington and his army, in New-Jer*. 


sey was exceedingly precarious. On the 5th of July, it was 
agreed by several public committees in Philadelphia, to 
dispatch all the associated militia of the state to the assist- 
since of Washington, where they were to continue, until ten 
thousand men could be raised to relieve, them. Mr. M'Kean 
was at this time colonel of a regiment of associated militia. 
A few days following the declaration of independence, he was 
on his way to Perth Amboy, in New- Jersey, at the head of 
his battalion. In a letter, dated at head quarters, Perth Am« 
boy, July 26th, 1776, he describes the narrow escape which 
lie had in executing an order of the commander-in-chief, 
which required him to march his battalion into the town. 
Having put his troops in motion, under Lieutenant Colonel 
Dean, he mounted his horse, and proceeded to wait upon the 
general for more particular orders. At this time, the enem} 's 
batteries were playing along the road which it was necessaiy 
for him to take. Amidst balls, which were flying in every di- 
rection around him, he proceeded to the general's hea*d 
quarters. An order had just been issued to prevent the bat- 
talion from proceeding into the town. It became necessary, 
therefore, for him to follow them, in order to stop them. As 
he turned to execute the order, a horse at a short distance 
from him was shot through th& neck by a cannon ball, and 
such was the incessant discharge from the enemy's batteries 
Along the road, over which he passed, that it appeared impos- 
sible that he should escape. A merciful providence, however, 
protected him on his return. * He executed liis order, and 
safely marched his troops to the camp. 

The associate militia being at length discharged, Mr. M'Kean 
returned to Philadelphia, and was present in his seat in con- 
gress on the second of August, when the engrossed copy- of 
the declaration of independence was signed by the members. 
A few days after this, receiving intelligence of his having 
been elected a member of the convention in Delaware, assem- 
bled for the purpose of forming a constitution for that state* 
he departed for Dover, which place he reached in a single 
day. Although excessively fatigued, on his arrival, at the 
request of a committee of gentlemen of the convention, he 

nlired to his room in the public inn, where he was employed 
the whole night in preparing a eonstitution for the future gf^ 
vemment of the state. This he did without the least assiAl* 
ance, and eren without the aid of a book. At ten o'cloek 
the next morning it was presented to the convention, by 
whom it was unanimously adopted* 

In the year 1777, Mr. M^Kean was appointed presideiiC 
of the state of Delaware^ and on the twenty-eighth of July of 
the same year, he received from the supreme executive coiuft-* 
cil the commission of chief justice of Pennsylvania. The 
duties of this latter station he continued to discharge for 
twenty-two years. At the time of his accepting the cominis- 
•ion, he was speaker of the house of assembly, president of 
Delaware, as already noticed, and member of congress. 

The duties of so many offices pressed with too much weight 
upon Mr. M^Kean, and he found himself compelled to offer 
his resignation, in 1780, to the people of Delaware, as their 
delegate to congress. They were, however, unwilling to dis- 
pense with his services, and he continued still to represent 
the state in the national council. In July of the following 
year, on the resignation of Samuel Huntington, he was elect- 
ed president of congress, a station which he found it neces- 
sary in the following October to relinquish, as the duties of it 
interfered with the exercise of his office of chief justice of 
Pennsylvania. On accepting his resignation, it was resolved : 
** that the thanks of congress be given to the honourable 
Thomas M'Kean, late president of congress, in testimony of 
their approbation of his conduct in the chair, and in the exe- 
cution of public business." 

We must here devote a paragraph to speak of Mr. M'Kean, 
in the exercise of his judicial functions* As a judge, he had 
few equals, in this, or any other country. At this time the 
law of the state of Pennsylvania was in a great measure un- 
settled. It devolved upon him to reduce it to a system. His 
decisions were remarkably accurate, and often profound. He 
was distinguished for great perspicuity of language, for mi 
easy and perfectly intelligible explication of even intricate 
and difficult cases. In his manners^ while presiding^ to a 


proper afiability, he united great dignity. In short, few men 
'while living have acquired a higher reputation than did chief 
justice M'Kean, and few have enjoyed, after death, a greater 
share of judicial fame. 

In the year 1788, an attempt was made to impeach the con- 
duct of Mr. M'Kean, as chief justice. The ground of accusa- 
tion arose from the following circumstance. Eleazer Oswald, 
in a column of a paper of which he was editor, attempted to 
prejudice the minds of the people, in a cause then in court, 
in which he was defendant ; at the same time casting highly 
improper reflections upon the judges. In consideration of 
this contempt of court, the judges inflicted a fine upon Os- 
wald of ten pounds, and directed him to be imprisoned /or 
the space of one months that is, from the fifteenth day of July 
to the fifteenth day of August, At the expiration of twenty 
eight days, a legal month, Oswald claimed his discharge. The 
sherifl; upon this, consulted Mr. M'Kean, who not knowing 
*that the sentence was entered upon the record *'^for the space 
of one monthy^^ without the explanatory clause, directed the 
sherifl* to detain tlie prisoner until the morning of the fifteenth 
of August. Finding his mistake, however, he directed Oswald 
to be discharged ; but as he had been detained beyond the 
time specified in the sentence, he presented a memorial to the 
general assembly, complaining of the chief justice, and de- 
manding his impeachment. After a discussion of the subject 
by the assembly for several days, and a long examination of 
witnesses, it was at length resolved : " that this house, having, 
in a committee of the whole, gone into a full examination of 
the charges exhibited by Eleazer Oswald, of arbitrary and 
oppressive proceedings in the justices of the supreme 'court, 
against the said Eleazer Oswald, are of the opinion, that the 
charges are unsupported by the testimony adduced, and, con- 
sequently, that there is no just cause for impeaching the said 

Of the convention of Pennsylvania, which was assembled 
on the twentieth of November, 1787, to ratify the constitution 
of the United States, Mr. M^Kean was delegated a member 
from the city of Philadelphia^^ In this convention, Mr 


H^Keaa and Mr. Wilson, of the latter of whom we have spa 
ken in a former biographical sketch, took the lead. On the 
twenty-sixth of this month, the former submitted the follow- 
ing motion : " That this conrention do assent to, and ratifj 
the constitution agreed to on the seventeenth of September 
last, by the convention of the United States of America, held 
at Philadelphia.*' On a subsequent day, he entered at length 
into the merits of the constitution, which he demonstrated in 
the most masterly manner, and triumphantly answered the 
various objections which had been urged against it. In the 
conclusion of this eloquent speech, he used the following 
language : ** The law, sir, has been my study from my infan- 
cy, and my only profession. I have gone through the circle 
of office, in the legislative, executive, and judicial, depart- 
ments of government ; and from all my study, observation, 
and experience, I must declare, that from a full examination 
and due consideration of this system, it appears to me the 
best the world has yet seen, « 

**I congratulate you on the fair prospect of its being 
adopted, and am happy in the expectation of seeing accom- 
plished, what has been long my ardent wish — that you wiU 
hereafter have a salutary permanency in magistracy, and 
stability in the lawsJ*^ 

In the following year, the legislature of Pennsylvania took 
measures for calling a convention, to consider in what re- 
spects their state constitution required alteration and amend 
9ient. This convention commenced its session on the ^th 
of November, 1789 ; Mr. M'Kean appeared and took his seat 
as a delegate from the city of Philadelphia. When the con- 
vention resolved itself into a committee of the whole, on the 
subject of altering or amending the constitution, he was ap- 
pointed chairman. During the whole of the deliberations, he 
presided with great dignity and ability, for which he received 
the unanimous thanks of the convention. In 1779, Mr. M^Keao 
was elected to the chief magistracy of the state of Pennsyl- 
vania. His competitor at this time, was the able and distin- 
gaished James Ross. Mr. M'Kean belonged to the politics 
of Mr. Jefferson, to whose elevation to the presidency of the 

CKaited States, his election ia supposed to bare powerful] j 
contributed. The administration of Mr. M'Kean was mark* 
ed with ability, and with ultimate benefit to the state ; yet 
the numerous removals from office of his political opponents, 
produced great excitement in the state, and, perhaps, upon 
the whole, betrayed, on his part, an unjustifiable degree of 
political asperity. 

During the years 1807 and 1808, through the influence of 
a number of the citizens of the city and county of Philadel- 
pliia, an inquiry was instituted by the legislature into the offi- 
cial conduct of Governor M^Kean. The committee appointed 
for this purpose reported to the legislature : 

*' I. That the governor did, premeditatedly, wantonly, un- 
justly, and contrary to the true intent and n^eaning of the 
constitution, render void the late election, (in 1806,) of a she- 
riff in the city and county of Philadelphia. 

**II. That he usurped a judicial authority, in issuing a* 
warrant for the arrest and imprisonment of Joseph Cabrera ; 
and interfered in favour of a convict for forgery, in defiance 
of the law, and contrary to the wholesome regulations of the 
prison in Philadelphia, and the safety of the citizens. 

" III. That, contrary to the true intent and meaning of the 
constitution, and in violation of it, did he appoint Dr. George 
Buchanan lazaretto physician of the port of Philadelphia. 

" IV. That, under a precedent, acknowledged to have been 
derived from the king of Great Britain, and contrary to the 
express letter of the constitution, did he suffer his name to be 
stamped upon blank patents, warrants on the treasury, and 
other ofiicial papers, and that, too, out of his presence. 

"V. That, contrary to law, did he supersede Dr. James 
Beyaolds as a member of the board of health. 

**Vl. That, contrary to the obligations of duty, and tibe 
injuDc^ons of the constitution, did he offer and authorize 
overtilres to be made to discontinue two actions of the com- 
nonwealth against William Duane and his surety, for an al- 
leged forfeiture of two recognizances of one thousand 
dollars each, on condition that William Duane would discon- 
tinae civil actions against his son Joseph B. M'Keany ^ad 


others, for damages for a murderous assault, committed by 
Joseph M*Kean, and others, on William Doane.'* 

This report the committee followed by affixing the follow 
ing resohi^on : 

** Resolved, That Thomas M'Kean, governor of this 
commonwealth, be impeached of high crimes and misde- 

On the twenty-seventh of January, the house proceeded to 
the consideration of the above resolution, and on the same 
day indefinitely postponed the further consideration of the 

Although this attempt to impeach the governor was thus 
unsuccessful, the following day he presented to the house a 
reply to the charges which had been exhibited against him 
by the committee of inquiry. After being read, a motion 
was made to insert it at large on the journal, which, at length, 
was carried in the affirmative. 

In the course of this reply, which contained, in the view 
of temperate men, a triumphant vindication of his character, 
Mr. M'Kean observed as follows : " That I may have erred 
in judgment ; that I may have been mistaken in my general 
views of public policy ; and that I may have been deceived 
by the objects of executive confidence, or benevolence — lam 
not so vain nor so credulous as to deny; though, in the 
present instance, I am still without the proof antkwthout 
the belief; but the firm and fearless position which j\^^ 
invites the strictest scrutiny, upon a fair exposition oi'^p 
constitution and laws, into the sincerity and truth of I 
general answer given to my accusers — tkat no act of '\ 
public life was ever done from a corrupt motive, nor wits'% 
out a deliberate opinion that the act was lawful and proper 
in itself*^ 

At the close of the year 1808, Mr. M^Kean, having occu- 
pied the chair of state during the constitutional period ck nin£ 
years, retired from the cares of a long life to the enjoyment 
of a peaceful retirement, rendered doubly grateful by the 
consciousness of a well earned and honourable fame. In 
the enjoyment of this retirement, he lived until the twenty- 

9AHUSL CHA8X. 34& 

»ate of the United States, where he narrowly escaped con- 
demnation. This impeachment was made in 1804, and was 
recommended hy a committee of inquiry, raised, it is said, on 
the motion of John Randolph, of Virginia, to which he was 
incited through political animosity. The articles of impeach- 
ment originally reported were six in number, to which two 
others were afterwards added. On these articles Judge Chase, 
was put upon his trial, which began on the second of January,. 
and was finally ended on the fifth of March, 1805. 

The articles of impeachment were founded on certain con- 
duct of the judge, on different occasions, at Philadelphia, Rich- 
mond, and other places, in which he was said to have tran- 
scended his judicial powers. The minute history of thisi 
affair, our limits forbid us to detail. It is sufficient to say, that 
much exertion was made by his political opponents to pro- 
duce a conviction, but without effect. On five of the charges 
a majority of the senate acquitted him. On the others, a ma- 
jority was against him ; but as a vote of two thirds is neces- 
sary to conviction, he was acquitted. of the whole. 

This was a severe trial to a man of the independent spirit 
of Judge Chase. Its disagreeableness was not a little increas- 
ed by a severe attack of the gout, during the progress of the 
impeachment. After his acquittal, he continued to exercise 
his judicial functions, unmolested by his enemies, and with 
his usual ability. 
I In the year 1811, his health began to fail him, and though 
ol his disease was slow in its progress, he well understood, that 
of it was of a nature to bring him to the grave. His death oc- 
of .curred on the nineteenth of June. In his dying hour, he ap- 
ff triifeared calm and resigned. He spoke of his domestic affairs 
pfOfCftiih great propriety, and to his weeping family recommend- 
1 composure and fortitude. He was a firm believer in 
^oeeo-liristianity, and but a short time before his death, having 
(]jfpifl6 trtaken of the sacrament, he declared himself to be in peace 
,yjseol rith all mankind. In his will, he directed that no mourning 
w the dould be worn for him, and requested that only his name, 
ig^ b fith the dates of his birth and death, should be inscribed on 
^00(f« lb tomb. 



From the foregoing sketch^it it eaqr to percelre that Judfpt 
Chase was no ordinary man. He possessed an intellect oi 
great power, and a courage which was at all times undaunted. 
It was his unhappiness to have feelings which were too iraa- 
eihle and rehement for his personal comfort, and which be- 
trmjred him at times, into a course of conduct, that sober 
judgment would have pronounced at least impolitic. Yet few 
men were more sincere, or more firmly patriotic He ar- 
dently loved his friends, and by them, was ardently loTed ia 
turn. He loved his country. In the days of her deepest de- 
pression, he stood firm to her interests, and will occupj a 
distinguished place among those who have ^ graced the rolk 


William Paca was bom on the 31st of October, 1740. 
He was the second son of John Paca, a gentleman of large 
estate, who resided in the county of Harford, in the state of 
Maryland. His father, sensible of the importance of a good 
education, placed his son, at a proper age, in the college at 
Philadelphia, At that time under the care of the learned and 
eloquent Dr. William Smith. On commencing bachelor of 
arts, in 1759, he entered the office of Stephen Bradley, a dis- 
tinguished lawyer of Annapolis, for the purpose of pursuing 
the profession of law. 

Mr. Paca was a diligent student, and early gave promise of 
eminence in his profession. He was licensed to practice in 1761, 
and was admitted to the bar al the provincial court in 1764. He 
established himself at Annapolis, where he had for his com- 
petitors, John Price, and Samuel Chase, with the . latter of 
whom he became intimately acquainted, and with whom be 
acted an important part during the revolutionary struggle. 

The political career of Mr. Paca commenced in 1771, at 


f vlueh tine he was appointed to represent the county in the 
popular branch of the legislature. At this time, and for se* 
E veral years after, much contention existed between the go- 
vernment of Maryland, which was proprietary, and the peo* 
pie. The goremment consisted of three branches : a house 
of burgesses, the members of which were selected by tht 
people* The second branch was called the upper house, the 
members of which were elected and remoyed, at the pleasure 
df the proprietor. The governor formed the third branch, 
without whose assent no act of assembly was valid. And in 
Addition to this, the proprietor himself, who generally resid- 
•ed in England, claimed the privilege of dissenting from such 
Jaws as he pleased, although they had received the sanction 
of the above branches of the legislature. Hence, there was 
often no small collision between the lower house, or those 
who represented the people, and the upper house and go- 
vernor, who were considered as under the influence of the 

In this provincial assembly, Mr. Paca represented the peo 
pie, whose interests he strongly felt, and faithfully guarded. 
The interests of the proprietor and of the people were often 
thought to be at variance. An avaricious and oppressive 
Mpini marked the proceedings of the proprietor and his par- 
tisans. It was important, therefore, for the people, to have 
men to represent them in the house of burgesses, who un- 
derstood their rights, and were sufficiently bold to assert and 
maintain them. Such a man was Mr. Paca. He was learn- 
ed as to a knowledge of law, and of the principles of the 
proprietary government ; and at all times, when necessary, 
sufficiently courageous to resist the aggressions of avariee, 
and the usurpations of tyranny. 

The following anecdote will illustrate the bold and inde- 
pendent spirit of Mr. Paca. In 1771, an act expired in 
Maryland, the object of which was to regulate the staple of 
tobacco, and the fees of certain officers. This act the house 
of burgesses refused to continue, without a reduction of the 
officers' fees. As neither branch of the assembly would 
cede from the ground it had taken, the fee bill fell In 


itet« of things, the goTemor issued his pTOclamatioh 
log the officers to proceed according to the old law. 

The commotion excited throughout the province was 
greatt and at some places, particularly at Annapolis, even 
tumultuous. At this latter place, a multitude of citizens col- 
lected to express their abhorrence of the conduct of the go- 
▼emor. At the head of this multitude were Mr. Paca and 
Mr. Chase. A procession was formed, and with these two 
gentlemen for leaders, they proceeded to a gallows which 
had been preyiously erected, upon which they hung the 
goyemor's proclamation, in due form, with a halter. At 
length it was taken down, inclosed in a coffin prepared far 
the purpose, and consigned to a grave dug beneath the gal- 
lows. During the whole ceremony, minute guns were fired 
from a schooner owned by Mr. Paca, which was stationed at 
no great distance. In conclusion, the citizens marched back 
to the city, where they devoted the remainder of the day to 

The controversy to which we have now alluded had long 
existed, and continued to exist, quite down to the era of the 
revolutionary struggle. When that struggle commenced, 
about the year 1774, there were men, therefore, in Maryland, 
who were well prepared to enter into it, with energy and de- 
cision. They had been trained in the school of controversy. 
They had studied every chapter relating to American rights; 
and possessing a boldness and a courage commensurate with 
their knowledge, they were prepared to act a decided part. 

Of the illustrious congress of 1774, Mr. Paca was a mem- 
ber, in conjunction with Samuel Chase, and several others. 
They were instructed by the Maryland convention, from 
which they received their appointment: *'To effect od6 
general plan of conduct, operating on the commercial con- 
nexion of the colonies with the mother country, for the 
relief of Boston, and the preservation of American liberty." 
As a member of this congress, Mr. Paca so well pleased his 
constituents, that he was re-appointed to the same station, 
imtil the year 1778, at th6 close of which he retired. 

Mr. Paca was an open advocate for a declaration of inde- 

S4M17BL OBA • 34l 

In 1783, Mr. Chase being accidentally in Ba^dmorei was 
ioTited to attend the meeting of a club of young men, who 
ftssembled at stated times, for the purpose of debating 
Anaong the speakers of the evening, there was one who, 
from his force of argument, and gracefulness of delivery,- 
attracted his attention. At the close of the debate, Mr. Chase 
entered into conversation with him, and advised him to think 
of the profession of law. The young man was at the time a 
clerk in an apothecary's shop. Finding him destitute of the 
means necessary for an undertaking so expensive, Mr. Chase 
kindly offered him the benefit of his library, his instruct 
lion, and his table. That young man was William Pinkney* 
He accepted the invitation of his generous benefactor, who 
afterwards had the pleasure of seeing him one of the most 
distinguished lawyers ever at the American bar. It may be 
proper to add in this place, that he was afterwards attorney 
general of the United States, and a minister in successive 
years at the courts of St James, at Naples, and St. Peters* 
burg. In the same year, Mr. Chase visited England, on be- 
half of the state of Maryland, for the purpose of reclaiming 
a large amount of property, which, while a colony, she had 
entrusted to the bank of England. In the prosecution of 
this business, he continued in England about a year, in which 
time he had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with many 
of the distinguished men of that country, among whom were 
Pitt, and Fox, and Burke. Although unsuccessful in aecom* 
plishing the object of his mission, while he continued in 
England, he put the claim in so favourable a train, that at 
a subsequent period, the state recovered about six hundred 
and fifty thousand dollars. While in England, he was mar^ 
ried to his second wife, the daughter of Dr. Samuel Giles, of 
Kentbury, with whom, in 1784, he returned to America. 

In the year 1786, at the pressing invitation of his friend^ 
Colonel Howard, he removed from Annapolis to Baltimore. 
hy this gentleman, he was generously presented with a 
square of ten lots of land, upon a spot in which he erected » 
house, in which he lived until his death. On his removal 

from Annapolis, the corporation of that city tendered to him 



the ezpressiona of their rei^ct, in the following address * 
**Sir9 the mayor, aldermen, and common councilmen of the 
city of Annapolis, impressed with a dne sense of the services 
rendered to this corporation by you, in the capacity of re- 
corder thereof^ do take this occasion to assure you of their 
entire approbation of your conduct in the performance of the 
duties of that trust, and to acknowledge your ready exertion* 
at all times, to promote the interest and welfare of this city. 
They sincerely regret the occasion of this address, as your 
removal from the city of Annapolis will deprive this body of 
a faithful and able officer, and the city of a valuable citizen. 
You have our warmest wishes for your happiness and wel- 

To this address, Mr. Chase returned the following an- 
swer : *' The address of the mayor, aldermen, and common 
councilmen of this city, presented me this day, affords me 
just pleasure, as I flatter myself they speak the genuine senti- 
ments of the citizens. As recorder of the city, duty and in 
clination urged me to enforce due obedience to the by-laws, 
and assist in the framing of ordinances for the regulating the 
police of the city. In the discharge of this duty, I ever re- 
ceived the ready assistance of my brethren on the bench, 
and of the other members of the corporation, and but a smaU 
portion of merit is due to me. My abilities have been much 
overrated by the corporation ; I only wish they had been 
equal to my inclination to serve them. 

'* As one of the delegates of Annapolis, my public powers 
were exerted on all occasions to promote the interest and 
welfare of the city ; and supported by my colleagues, my 
endeavours were in some instances crowned with success. I 
feel myself amply rewarded by the approbation of the body 
over whom you have the honour to preside. There can be 
nothing more agreeable to a public character, than to receive 
the public approbation of his conduct, from those who speak 
the collected and unbiassed sense of his constituents ; and it 
is the oidy reward a free and virtuous people can bestow, 
and the only one an honest representative can expect 

^Be pleased to present the corporation my warmest 

8AVVKI. CHA8X. 343 

.wishes for their prosperity, and I sincerely hope that the 
city of Annapolis may be forever distinguished for the har- 
mony and friendship, the benevolence and patriotism of its 

In the year 1788, Mr* Chase was appointed the presiding 
judge of a court of criminal jurisdiction, for the county and 
town of Baltimore, at that time organized. This situa- 
tion, however, did not prevent him from the practice of his 
profession, in which he continued until the year 1791, when 
he accepted the appointment of chief justice of the general 
court of Maryland. In a previous year, Mr. Chase had served 
in the convention of Maryland, assembled to ratify the 
federal constitution on the part of Maryland. With this in- 
strument he was not entirely pleased, considering it not 
sufficiently democratical. He is said to have belonged to the 
federal party in the country, and so to have continued to the 
end of his life ; but not to have entertained that partiality 
for England which has been ascribed to that party. With 
this peculiarity of views and feelings, Mr. Chase was not, as 
might be expected, without his enemies. 

In the year 1794, an event occurred in the city of Balti- 
more, which gave an opportunity to Judge Chase of exhibit- 
ing the firmness of his character, in respect to maintaining 
the dignity of the bench and the supremacy of the law. The 
event to which we allude was the tarring and feathering of 
two men, in the public streets, on an occasion of some popu- 
lar excitement. The circumstances of the case were inves- 
tigated by Judge Chase, in the issue of which investigation, 
he caused two respectable and popular men to be arrested as 

On being arraigned before the court, they refused to give 
bail. Upon this the judge informed them that they must go 
to jail. Accordingly, he directed the sheriff to take one of the 
prisoners to jail. This the sheriff informed the judge he 
could not do, as he apprehended resistance. " Summon the 
posse comitatus then," exclaimed the judge. " Sir," said the 
sheriff, '* no one will serve." " Summon me then," said Judge 


Chaset in a tone of lofty indignation, '* I wiU be tbe poasc 
comitatns, and I wiU take him to jail.** 

A member of the bar now begged leare to interpose, and 
requested the judge to waive the commitment ** No, Qod for* 
bid,** replied the judge, **l will do my duty, whatever be the 
consequences to myself or my family.** He now directed the 
parties to meet him the next day, and to give him the required 
security. He was told that the next day would be the sabbath 
**No better day,** said Judge Chase, **can be named, on 
which to execute the laws of the country* I will meet you 
here, and from this seat of justice I will go to the house of 

The parties in question, however, neglected to give the re- 
quired security on the sabbath, on account of which neglect, 
the judge despatched an express to the governor and council, 
calling upon them for assistance in the execution of the laws. 
On Monday the required security was given ; but when the 
grand jury met, instead of finding a bill against the accused, 
they delivered a presentment against Judge Chase himself, 
in which they reflected with severity upon his censure of the 
sheriff, and charged him with having violated the bill of rights, 
by holding at the same time two incompatible offices, viz. 
the office of chief jastice of the criminal court, and that of the 
general court of the state. To this presentment Judge Chase 
replied with becoming moderation, and yet with firmness. In 
conclusion, he informed the jury that they had touched upon 
topics beyond their province ; he advised them to confine 
themselves to the line of their duty, assuring them that what- 
ever opinions they might form, or whatever resentments they 
might indulge, he should ever respect them as the grand in* 
quest of the state of Maryland. 

In the year 1796, he was appointed by Washington an as-* 
sociate judge of the supreme court of the United States, a sta- 
tion which ' he continued to occupy for fiflteen years, and in 
which he generally appeared with great dignity and ability. 
It was the ill fortune of Judge Chase, however, to have his 
latter days on the bench embittered by an impeachment by 
the house of representatives, on which he was tried before the 


fourth of June, 1817, when he wm gathered to the generation 
of his fathers, at the uncommon age of eighty-three years, 
tivo months, and sixteen days. He lies interred in the hurial 
ground of the First I'reshyterian Church, in Market-street, 

2X 29 



WiixiAX Paca, 
Thomas 9tons, 
CHAmuss Caeeoi.1.. 


Samuxl Chase was the son of the Rer. Thomas Chase, a 
clergjman of dbtincUon, in the protestant episcopal church 
who, after his emig^tion^to America, married the daughter 
of a respectable farmer, and settled, for a time, in Somerset 
county, in Maryland, where this son was bom, un the 17th of 
April, 1741. 

In 1743, Mr. Chase removed to Baltimore, having been ap- 
pointed to the charge of St PauFs church, in that place 
Even in Baltimore, at this period, there was no school of a 
high order. The instruction of his son, therefore, devolved 
upon Mr. Chase, than whom few, fortunately, were better 
qualified for such a charge. His own attainments in classi- 
cal learning were much superior to those who had been edu- 
cated in America. Under the instruction of one so well 
qualified to teach, the son soon outstripped most of his com- 
peers, and at the early age of eighteen was sent to Annapolis, 
to commence the study of law. After a sedulous attention 
to his preparatory course, for two years, he was admitted to 
practice in the mayor's court, and two years from this latter 


date, was licensed for the chancery, and some of the conntjr 
courts. Finding the number of practitioners at Annapolis 
small, he settled in that place as a lawyer, where he was soon 
after connected in marriage with an amiable and intelligent 
lady, by whom he had two sons and two daughters, all o 
whom survived their parents. 

The incidents in the life of Mr. Chase, for several yean^ 
were but few. Devoted to his professional duties, he not 
only acquired a respectable share of business, but became 
highly distinguished for his legal attainments. 

The political career of Mr. Chase commenced about the 
time of the congress of 1774^ in which body he acted as a de- 
legate from Maryland. This station he continued to occupy 
for several years. In the spring of 1776, he was appointed 
by congress, in conjunction with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Car- 
roll, to a trust of a most important nature. This was a mis- 
sion to Canada, the object of which was, to induce the inha- 
bitants of that country to withdraw their connexion from 
Great Britain, and to join the American confederacy. The 
undertaking was attended with great difficulties ; but as Mr. 
Chase, though young, was distinguished for his abilities, and 
characterized for a most ardent patriotism, he was appointed 
one of the commissioners. Mr. Carroll, and his brother, af- 
terwards the archbishop of Baltimore, were added to the com- 
mission, under an apprehension that they might exercise a 
Mlutary influence with the catholics in Canada. Although 
the objects of the expedition were not attained, the fidelity of 
the commissioners was never, for a moment, questioned. 

On his return to Philadelphia, Mr. Chase found that a pro- 
position had been made in congress to issue a declaration of 
independence. The situation of the Maryland delegation, in 
respect to such a measure, was peculiarly trying. They had 
been expressly prohibited, by the convention which appointed 
them, from voting in favour of a declaration of independence ; 
and, as they had accepted their appointments under this re- 
striction, they did not feel at liberty to give such a measure 
their active and open support. 

It was not compatible with the independent and patriotic 



•pirit of Mr. Chase, quietly to endure such a situation. EU 
left congresst and proceeded to Maryland. He trarersed the 
province) and, assisted by his colleagues and frieods, as- 
sembled county meetings, and persuaded the inhabitants to 
send addresses to the convention, then sitting at Annapolis, 
in favour of independence. Such an expression of cordiality 
to a measure, the convention could not resist, and at length 
gave an unanimous vote in its favour. With this vote, Mr. 
Chase hastened to Philadelphia, where he arrived in time to 
take his seat on Monday morning, having rode, on the two 
previous days, one hundred and fifty miles. On the day of 
his arrival, the resolution to issue a declaration of indepen- 
dence came before the house, and he had the pleasure of 
uniting with a majority in favour of it. 

This success was a sufficient reward for all the labour 
which he had sustained, in accomplishing an object so de- 
sirable. A pure patriotism only, however, could have sus- 
tained the fathers of the revolution, under all the toils and 
fatigue which they endured. They were fitted for high and 
mighty enterprises. Common dangers, and common suffer- 
ings, they regarded not. The object presented to their view, 
was connected with the liberty not only of themselves, but 
with the millions of their future posterity. With this object 
before them, therefore, they heeded not danger, nor were 
they subdued, or even disheartened, by the most unexpected 

Our limits permit us not to enter into a minute detail of 
the congressional services rendered by Mr. Chase, during 
several years which followed the declaration of indepen- 
dence. In the number, variety, and importance of those 
services, he was probably surpassed by few. He possessed, 
beyond most others, an ardour of mind, which sometimes, in 
debate, carried him almost beyond the bounds of propriety. 
There were some others from time to time in congress of a 
similar stamp. They were important members ; they served 
to animate that body by the warmth which they manifested 
in debate, and to rouse the more supine or timid to action, as 
the necessity of the times required. 



pendence, as were several of his colleagues. For the ac- 
complishment of such an object, they laboured with unwea- 
ried zeal. A majority of the people of Maryland, however, 
were not prepared for such a measure. They stil] felt 
m strong affection for the king, and the mother country, to« 
wards whom they expressed by their convention, early in 
Uie year 1776, many professions of loyalty and regard. 

At the same time, they strictly enjoined their representa- 
tives in congress, not to consent to any propositions for pub- 
lishing a declaration of independence, and accompanied 
these restrictions with a resolution, that Maryland would not 
be bound by any vote of congress, which should sanction 
such a measure. 

In the life of Mr. Chase, we have related the manner in 
which a change was effected among the people in relation to 
this subject, particularly through the instrumentality of Mr. 
Chase. On the 2Sth of June, the convention of Maryland 
recalled their instructions to their delegates, whom they left 
free to vote in favour of a declaration of independence. In 
consequence, their vote was given in its &vour, shortly after 
which the convention expressed their approbation of the 
measure, and in support of it pledged their lives and fortunes 
and sacred honour. 

Early in the year 1778, Mr. Paca was appointed chief jus- 
tice of the supreme court of his state, an office which he 
continued to exercise with great ability, until 1780, when he 
was advanced by congress to the still more important office 
of chief judge of the court of appeals, in prize and admiralty 
cases. In this new station, he acquitted himself with great 
honour. He entered with ability into the subject of inter- 
national law, and had the Jiappiness to learn that his deci- 
sions were highly approved, both at home and abroad. 

In 17^2, he was elected to the chief magistracy of his na- 
tive *^Btate. Here, again, he .was distinguished for great cor- 
rectness and integrity, for dignity and simplicity. He en- 
tered with zeal into the interests of literature and religion* 
both of which he promoted by his private donations, and his 
executive patronage. These subjects he officially reconv- 


KO HAETKAn 9mhmoMnoM. 

ided to die general tmemhly in the following Imngmg^ 
**It if lir from our intention,** said he, ** to embarrass jour 
delibentione with a Yariety of objects ; but we cannot pass 
OTcr mattors of so high concernment as religion and learning^. 
The SQ^ferings of the ministers of the gospel of aU denomi-> 
nations, daring the war, have been very considerable ; and 
the perscTeiance and firmness of those, who discharged theii 
sacred limctions mider many discooraging circnmstances, 
claim our acknowledgments and thanks. The bin of rights 
and form of gOTcmment recognize the principle of pablle 
iapportfor the ministers of the gospel, and ascertain the 
mode. Anxiously solicitous for the blessings of govemmenCy 
and the welfare and happiness of onr citizens, and thorongbl3r 
GonTinced of the powerful influence of religion, when dif^ 
fused by its respectable teachers, we beg leare most seriousl^r 
and warmly to recommend, among the first objects of yoar 
attention, on the return of peace, the making such provision 
as the constitution, in this case, authorizes and approves." 

The recommendation of Governor Paca was kindly re- 
ceived by the assembly, which passed several acts in aid of 
the several denominations of christians, which were at that 
lime numerous in Maryland. The interest which he mani- 
fested in favour of religion, met the warm approbation of 
the various sects ; and from the episcopalians, in particular. 
It elicited, throngh their convention, a formal expression of 

After holding the office of chief magistrate for one year, 
Mr. Paca retired to private life, until 1786, when he again 
accepted the executive chair for a single year. 

In 1789, on the organization of the federal government, 
lie received from President Washington the appointment of 
judge of the district court of the United States fo^ IM^ry- 
land. This office he held until the year 1799, when he was 
summoned to another world, in the sixtieth year of his age. 

Mr. Paca was twice married. The first time to a daughter 
of Samuel Chew, in the year 1761, while he was pursuing 
the study of law. The second time in 1777, to a daughter 
of a respectable gentleman of Philadelphia, by the name of 

THOMIS troiiB. 361 

Bf^rriAon. By the fiMrmer lady he bad five chUdren, one of 
whom only flurviTes. By the latter he had a son, who died 
shortly after his mother, whose decease oceurred in 1780« 

Few men in America, as may be gathered from the prece- 
ding sketch, were ever more estimable in their character than 
Qovemor Paca. He possessed a mind of superior order, 
Tirhich was greatly improved by his intercourse with man- 
kind, and his extensive acquaintance with books. 

In his address he was unusually graceful, and in his social 
powers was excelled by few. His attention to the young 
was not the least excellent trait in his character. He sought 
their company, and took a deep interest in their moral and 
intellectual improvement* Even after he became governor 
of the state, he was in the habit of attending a club at Annn- 
polie, composed of young men and gentlemen of science. In 
this school, many were trained, who afterwards became 
highly distinguished both as statesmen and lawyers. It was 
here that that celebrated orator, William Pinkney, first at- 
tracted the attention of Judge Chase, an account of whose 
particularly kind conduct towards him, we have given in the 
life of that gentleman. We shall only add to this notice of 
Mr. P&ca, that as he lived a life of distinguished usefulness, 
so he died regretted by all who knew how to estimate moral 
worth, intellectual elevation, and political integrity. 



Thomas Stonb was the son of David Stone, of Pointon 
Manor, Charles county, Maryland. His father was a de- 
scendsnt of William Stone, who was governor of Maryland 
during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. The boyhood 
of Thomas Stone was distinguished by an tmusual fondness ^ 

for learning. At the age of fifteen, having acquired a rs>> 
specfeable knowledge of the English language, he obtained 


the relactont consent of his fiither to «nter the sdiool of a Mi. 
Blaizedel, a Scotchman, for the purpose of pursuing the 
Greek and Latin languages. This school was at the distance 
of ten nliles from his father's residence ; yet, such was the 
zeal of young Stone, that he was in the hahit of rising suffi- 
dentiy early in the morning, to traverse this distance on 
horseback, and enter the school at the usual time of its com- 

On leaving the school of Mr. Blaizedel, the subject of our 
memoir was anxious to prosecute the study of law. But, al- 
though his father was a gentleman of fortune, his son was 
under the necessity of borrowing money to enable him to 
carry his laudable design into effect He placed himself under 
the care of Thomas Johnson, a respectable lawyer of Anna- 
polis. Having finished his preparatory studies, he entered 
upon the practice of his profession in Fredericktown, Mary- 
land, where having resided two years, he removed to Charles 
county, in the same state. 

During his residence in the former of these places, his 
business had enabled him to discharge the obligations under 
which he had laid himself for his education. At the age of 
twenty-eight, he married the daughter of Dr. Gustavus 
Brown, with whom he received the sum of one thousand 
pounds sterling. With this money, he purchased a farm^ 
near the village of Port Tobacco, upon which he continued 
to reside during the revolutionary struggle. 

The business of Mr. Stone, during a considerable part of 
that period, was not lucrative ; and as the soil of the farm 
upon which he lived was poor, he found it difficult to obtain 
more than a competent livelihood. The expenses of his fa- 
mily were increased by the charge of four brothers, who were 
yet of tender years. The situation of many of our fathers, 
during those trying times, was similar to that of Mr. Stone. 
They had small patrimonies ; business was in a great mea- 
sure suspended ; and, added to this, their time and talents 
were imperiously demanded by their suffering country. Yeti 
amidst all these difficulties and trials, a pure patriotism con- 
tinued to burn within their breasts, and enabled them ipost 

eheerfbllj to muke any and every saciifice to which thejr 
^were calkd by the cause of freedom. Nor ApnJd it be for- 
gotten, that in these sacrifices the families of o^jr fathers joy- 
folly participated. They received without a murmur '* the 
spoiling of their goods," being elevated by the reflection, 
that this was necessary for the achievement of that indepen- 
dence to which they considered themselves and their posterji- 
ty as entitled. 

Although Mr. 8tone was ^ gentleman pf acj^nowledged ta- 
lentSy and of inflexible and incorruptible inte^ty, it does noit 
appear that he was brought forward into public life until 
some time in the year 1774. Be wafi not a member of the 
illustrious congress of that year, but receiving an appoint- 
ment as a delegate in December, he took his seat in that body^ 
in the following May ; and, for several years afterwards, was 
annually re-elected to the same dignified station. 

In our biographical sketches of the other gentlemeai who 

belonged about this time to the Maryland delegation, we have 

had frequent occasion to notice the loyalty and affection 

which prevailed in that province, for several years, toward^ 

the king and the parent country ; and hence the rel,uctanc« 

of her citizens to sanction the declaration of independence. 

When, therefore, towards the close of the year 1775, such a 

measure began seriously to be discussed in the country, the 

people of Maryland became alarmed ; and, apprehensive lest 

dieir delegation in congress, which was composed generally 

of young men, should be disposed td favour the measure, the 

convention of that province attempted to restrain them by 

strict and specific instructions : 

^' We instruct you," said they, *^ that you do not, withoul 
the previous knowledge and approbation of the convention 
of this province, assent to any proposition to declare then 
colonies indep^dent of the crown of Gr^at Britain, nor to 
any proposition for making or entering into an alliance with 
any foreign power ; nor to any union or confederation of 
these colonies, which may necesaarlly lead to a separation 
from the mother country, unless in your judgmentSy or in the 
judgments of any four of you, or a majority of the whole of 
2Z 30* 


yov, if in shall be then attending in congress, it shall be 
thought absolutely necessary for the preservation of tlie Kber- 
ties of the united colonieii ; and should a majority of the colo- 
nies in congress, against such your judgment, resolve to de- 
elare these colonies independent of the crown of Great 
Britain, or to make or enter into alliance with any foreign 
power, or into any union or confederation of these colonies, 
which may necessarily lead to a separation from the mother 
country, then we instruct you immediately to call the conren- 
tien of this province, and repair thereto with such proposi- 
tion and resolve, and lay the same before the said convention 
for their consideration ; and this convention will not hold this 
province bound by such majority in congress, until the repre- 
sentative body of the province in convention assent thereto." 

The cautious policy observable in these instructions, arose, 
not so much from timidity on the part of the people of Ma- 
ryland, as from a sincere attachment to the royal government, 
and an equally sincere affection to the parent country. Sooil 
after, however, the aspect of things in this province began to 
change. The affections of the people became gradually 
weaned from Great Britain. It was apparent that a reunion 
with that country, on constitutional principles, though infi- 
nitely desirable, was not to be expected. By the fifteenth 
of May, 1776, these sentiments had become so strong, that a* 
resolution passed the convention, declaring the authority of 
the crown at an end, and the necessity that each colony 
should form a constitution of government for itself. 

In the latter part of June, the work of regeneration was 
accomplished. The people of Maryland generally expressed 
themselves, in county meetings, decidedly in favour of a de- 
claration of independence. This expression of public senti- 
ment proved irresistible, and the convention proceeded to 
resolve : *' That the instructions given to their deputies be 
recalled, and the restrictions therein contained, remored; 
and that the deputies of said colony, or any three or more of 
them, be authorized and empowered to concur with the other 
united colonies, or a majority of them, in declaring the united 
colonies free and independent states ; in forming such ist* 

TBOMAfl 870NI.' 8Bt 

iher compact and confederation between them ; in making 
foreign alliances; and in adopting such other measures as 
shall be adjudged necessary for securing the liberties of 
America; and that said colony will hold itself bound by the 
resolutions of the majority of the united colonies in the pre* 
mises ; provided the sole and exclusive right of regulating 
the internal government and police of that colony be reser- 
ved to the people thereof." 

Being thus relieved from the trammels which had before 
bound them, Mr. Stone and his colleagues joyfully recorded 
their names in favour of a measure, which was connected with 
the imperishable glory of their country. 

Soon after the declaration of independence, congress ap« 
pointed a committee to prepare articles of confederation. 
To act on this committee, Mr. Stone was selected from the 
Maryland delegation. The duty devolving upon them was 
exceedingly arduous. Their report of the plan of a confede- 
ration was before the house for a long period, and was the 
subject, of debate thirty-nine times. Nor was it at lengtli 
agreed to, till the fifteenth day of November, 1777. Although 
the people of Maryland had consented to a declaration of in- 
dependence, after their first fervour had subsided, their for* 
mer jealousy returned ; and the Maryland convention pro- 
ceeded to limit the powers of their delegates, as to the forma- 
tion of the confederation. At the same time, not obscure- 
ly hinting in their resolution, that it might be still possible, 
and certainly desirable, to accommodate the unhappy diffe- 
rences with Great Britain. 

The above resolution was expressed in the following 
terms : ** That the delegates, or any three or more of themt 
be authorized and empowered to concur with the other 
United States, or a majority of them, in forming a confedera- 
tion, and in making foreign alliances, provided that such 
confederation, when formed, be not binding upon this state, 
without the assent of the general assembly ; and the said 
delegates, or any three or more of them, are also authorized 
and empowered to concur in any measures, which may be 
resolved on by congress for carrying on the war with Great 


Britaui, mi leamiig the liberties of the United Btotes ; w 
femng alwaye to this stoto, the eok end esdiuiTe right of 
mgulfttiiif tbe inleniel police hereof. And the said tide- 
gelea, or ei^ Ibree or more of them, are her^y anthoraad 
and eopoweved, noiwilhataBdiiig any jneefflire heretoClMe 
taken, to concur with ttie congreae, or a «iajority of tbeaii» m 
accommodating our unhappy diflerence with Greai Britain, 
on such terms as Uie congress, or a majority of them, sbidl 
think proper." 

After aeeing the confederation finally agrcted ppon in con^ 
grass, Mr. Stone declined ^ ve-apfiouHment to Ibat body, hut 
became a member of die Maryland legislature, where he pe^w* 
eriiilly contributed to mdyiorate the feelings of many, who 
were strongly opposed to the above plan of confederatioa* 
He had the pleasure, however, with other friends of that 
measure, to see it at l^igth approved by the general assem- 
bly and the people generally. 

Under this confederation, in 17S3, he was again elected to 
a seat in congress. In the session of 1784 he acted for some 
time as president pro tempore. On the breaking up of con- 
gress this year, he finally cetired from ^^i body, and again 
engaged actively in the duties of his profession. His prac- 
tice now became lucrative in Annapolis, whither he had re- 
moved his residence ; and in professional reputation he rose 
to great distinction. As an advoca^te, he excelled in strenglh 
of argument He was often employed in cases of great 
difficulty ; and by his brethren of the bar, it w^s thought emi- 
nently desirable, at such times, to have him for their colleague. 

In 1787, 2^. S.toiie was called to experience an aMctios 
5vhich caused a deep and abidii^ melancholy to settle upon 
his spirits. This was the death of ]tfrs. Stone, to whom (le 
was justly and most tenjdieEly attached. I>urjiiig a long state 
of weakness and decline, Induced by 4l\}^4ieiolls treatnient 
on the occasion of her having t^e sinaB po^ by inQc^lafi^H^ 
Mr. Stone watched oirer iter with the most unwe^ed deiv^ 
tion. At length, Jiowever, she B&vk to the girave. :Froai 
this time, the health of Mr. Stoiie evideiillly4ecUi^!jd. fn 
the autumn of the same year his physicians advised jiim le 


Le a sea voymge ; and in obedianee to that adrice, be i^ 

paired to Alexandria, to embark for England. Before the 

"veasel was ready to sail, however, he suddenly expired, on 

tlfte fiflh of October, 1787, in the forty-fifth year of his age. 

Mr. Stone was a professor of religion, and distinguished 

for a sincere and fervent piety. To strangers, he had the 

. Appearance of austerity ; but among his intimate friends, he 

-was affiible, cheerftil, and familiar. In his disposition he was 

uncommonly amiable, and well disposed. In person, he was 

tail, but well proportioned. 

Mr. Stone left one son and two daughters. The son died 
in 1703, whOe pursuing the study of law. One of the daugh- 
ters, it is said, still lives, and is respectably married in the 
state of Virginia. 


Charles Carroll was a descendant of Daniel Carrol], an 
Irish gentleman, who emigrated from England to America 
about the year 1689. He settled in the province of Mary- 
land, where, a few years after, he received the appointment 
of judge, and register of the land office, and became agent 
, for Lord Baltimore. 

Charles Carroll, the father of the subject of the present 
sketch, was born in 1702. His son, Charles Carroll, snr- 
named of Carrollton, was born September 8, 1737, O.S. at 
Annapolis, in the province of Maryland. 

At the age of eight years, he was sent to France for the 
purpose of obtaining an education. He was placed at a col- 
lege of English Jesuits, at St. Omer's, where he remained for 
six years. Afterwards he staid some time at Rheims, whence 
he was removed to the college of Lewis le Grand. On 
leaving college, he ent^ed upon the study of the civil law, at 
.Bourges ; from which place he returned to Paris, where he 

rtnwiiMd IBI 1157, ift whieh year he rmnoved to LoBdon* 
eomoMiieed the ttady of law. He returned to Ameiiea ia 
1764» en aceompUthed 8ebo]ar» and- an aeeon^lielied «•»■ 
Aldiongh he had fired abroad, nod might natnraUy be siqp 
poaed to have imbibed a predilection for Uie monarchical in • 
atitutiona of Europe, he entered with great spurit into the 
eontroreray between the colonies and Great biUnn, which, 
about the time of hia arrival, was beginning to aaaume a moal 
eeiioua aspect 

A few years following the repeal of the stamp act, die 
▼iolent excitement occasioned by that measure, in a degree 
eubaided throughout all the colonies. In this cahner state of 
things the people of Maryland participated* But about the 
year 1771, great commotion was excited in that province, Uk 
consequence of the arbitrary conduct of Governor Eden and 
his council, touching the fees of the civil officers of the colo- 
nial government These fees, as was noticed in the life of 
Mr. Paca, had become, in the estimation of the popular 
branch of the assembly, from the manner in which they were 
charged, exceedingly exorbitant To correct the abuses 
growing out of the indefinite character of the law, a new law 
was framed ; and, after being passed by the lower house, was 
sent to the upper house fbr their concurrence. This, how- 
ever, was refused ; and the assembly was prorogued, without 
coming to any agreement on the subject. Shortly after, 6o« 
vemor Eden issued his proclamation, the ostensible object of 
which was to prevent oppressions and extortions on the part 
of the officers, in exacting unreasonable and excessive fees. 
The proclamation was in reality, however, highly exception- 
able in the view of the people, as it ejected to settle the 
point, which was the prerogative only of the people. The 
fees in question were considered in the light of a tax, the 
power to lay which the people justly claimed to themselves. 

The controversy which grew out of this arbitrary exercise 
of power on the part of Governor Eden, became exceedingly 
spirited. It involved the great principles of die revolution. 
Several writers of disdnguished character enlisted them- 
selves on different sides of the quesdon. Among these wri- 

emAMum cabmozlb SO 

so oqIb was more compkuons thaa If ?• CSurroU. The 
tural consequence of his firmness in defence of the rights 
tlie people was, that great confidence was reposed in him 
OUL their part, and he was looked up to as one who Was emi- 
nently qualified to lead in the great struggle which was ap- 
proaching hetween the colonies and the parent conntry. 

From what has heen observed respecting Mr. Carroll, it 
siaj justly be inferred that his mind was made up at an early 
day, as to the course duty required him to take in respect to 
this coming storm. An anecdote is related of him, which 
mrill illustrate his influence with the people of Maryland. By 
a resolution of the delegates of Maryland, on the 2Sd day of 
June, 1774^ the importation of tea was prohibited. Some- 
time after, however, a vessel arrived at Annapolis, having a 
quantity of this article on board. This becoming known, 
tJie people assembled in great multitudes, to take effectual 
measures to prevent its being landed. At length the excite* 
went became so high, that the personal safety of the captain 
of the vessel became endangered* In, this state of things, the 
lUends of the captain made application to Mr. Carroll, to in* 
terpose his influence with the people in his behalf. The pub« 
lie indignation was too great to be easily allayed. This Mr. 
Carroll perceived, and advised the captain and his friends, as 
the only probable means of safety to himself, to set fire to the 
vessel, and bum it to the water's edge. This alternative was 
indeed severe ; but, as it was obviously a measure of neces- 
sity, the vessel was drawn out, her sails were set, her colours 
unfurledi in which attitude the fire was applied to her, and, in 
the presence of an immense concourse of people, she was 
cQQsumed^ This atonement was deemed satis&ctory, and 
the captain was no farther molested. 

In the early part of 1776, Mr. Carroll, whose distinguished 
exertions in Maryland had become extensively known, was 
appointed by congress, in connexion with Dr. Franklin and 
Sfiukittel Chase, on a commission to proceed to Canada, to per- 
suade the people of that province to relinquish their alle- 
giance to the crown of England, ai^d unite with the Americans 
in their struggle for independence. 


In the ducharge of their dutiesy the comniisnoiierB 
with unexpected difficulties. The defeat and death of Mont* 
gomery, together with the compulsion which the Americtn 
troops found it necessary to exercise, in ohtaining the means of 
support in that province, conspired to diminish the ardour of 
the Canadians in &T0ur of a union with the colonies, and 
even, at length, to render them hostile to the measure. To 
conciliate their affections, and to bring to a favourable result 
the object of their mission, the commissioners employed their 
utmost ingenuity and influence. They issued their proclama- 
tions, in which they assured the people of the disposition of 
congress to remedy the temporary evils, which the inhabi- 
tants suffered in consequence of the presence of the American 
troops, so soon as it should be in their power to provide spe- 
cie, and clothing, and provisions. A strong tide, however, 
was now setting against the American colonies, the strength 
of which was much increased by the roman catholic priests, 
who, as a body, had always been opposed to any eonnezion 
with the united colonies. Despairing of accomplishing the 
wishes of congress, the commissioners at length abandoned 
the object, and returned to Philadelphia. 

The great subject of independence was, at this time, under- 
going a discussion in the hall of congress. It has been al- 
ready noticed, that the Maryland delegation, in that body, 
had been instructed by their convention to refuse their assent 
to a declaration of independence. On returning to Maryland, 
Mr. Carroll resumed his seat in the convention, and, with the 
advocates of a declaration of independence, urged the with- 
drawal of the above instructions, and the granting of power 
to their delegates to unite in such a declaration. The friends 
of the measure had at length the happiness, on the 28th of 
June, of procuring a new set of instructions, which secured 
the vote of the important province of Maryland in favour of 
the independence of America. 

On the same day on which the great question was decided 
in congress, in favour of a declaration of independence, Mr. 
Carroll was elected a delegate to that body from Maryland* 


ttud accordingly took his seat on the eighteenth of the^same 

Although not a member of congress at the time the question 

of a declaration of independence was settled, Mr. Carroll had 

the honour of greatly contributing to a measure so auspicious 

to the interests of his country, by assisting in procuring the 

irithdrawal of the prohibiting instructions, and the adoption , 

of a new set, by which the Maryland delegates found them 

selves authorized to vote for independence. He had the 

honour, also, of affixing his signature to the declaration on 

the second of August, at which time the members generally 

mgned an engrossed copy, which had been prepared for that 

purpose. From the printed journals of congress, it would 

appear, that the declaration was signed on the fourth of July, 

the same day on which the final question was taken. This 

is an error. The declaration, as first published, had only the 

name of Hancock affixed to it; and it was only on the nine* 

teenth of July, that a resolution was adopted, directing the 

declaration to be engrossed on parchment, with a view to a 

general signature on the part of the members. 

The truth of this statement may be inferred from the fol- 
lowing letter, addressed by Mr. Secretary Adams to Mr. Car- 
ToU, on the twenty-fourth of June, 1824 : 


"In pursuance of a joint resolution of the two houses of 
congress, a copy of which is hereto annexed, and by direction 
of the president of the United States, I have the honour of 
transmitting to you two fac simile copies of the original de- 
claration of independence, engrossed on parchment, confor- 
mably to a secret resolution of congress of nineteenth July, 
1776, to be signed by every member of congress, and accord- 
ingly signed on the second day of August of the same year. 
Of this document, unparalleled in the annals of mankind, the 
original, deposited in this department, exhibits your name as 
one of the subscribers. The rolls herewith transmitted, are 
copies as exact as the art of engraving can present, of the in- 
Btmment itielff at weU at of the signers to it. 
8 A 81 


* While perfonning the duty thus assigned me, permit me 
to felicitate you, and the country, which is reaping the reward 
of your labours, as well that your hand was affixed to this 
record of glory, as that, after the lapse of near half a century, 
you survive to receive this tribute of reverence and gratitude, 
from your children, the present fathers of the land. 

^*With every sentiment of veneration, I have the ho- 
nour," &c. 

A signature to the declaration, was an important step for 
every individual member of congress. It exposed the signers 
of it to the confiscation of their estates, and the loss of life, 
should the British arms prove victorious. Few men had more 
at stake in respect io property than Mr. Carroll, he being con- 
sidered the richest individual in the colonies. But wealth 
was of secondary value in his estimation, in comparison with 
the rights and liberties of his country. When asked whether 
he would annex his name, he replied, " most willingly," and 
seizing a pen, instantly subscribed ** to this record of glory." 
^* There go a few millions," said some one who watched the 
pen as it traced the name of *' Charles Carroll, of CarroUton," 
on the parchment. Millions would indeed have gone, for 
his fortune was princely, had not success crowned the Ame- 
rican arms, in the long fought contest 

Mr. Carroll was continued a member of congress until 
1776, at which time he resigned his seat in that body, and 
devoted himself more particularly to the interests of his native 
state. He had served in her convention in 1776, in the lat- 
ter part of which year he had assisted in drafting her consti- 
tution. Soon after, the new constitution went into operation, 
and Mr. Carroll was chosen a member of the senate of Ma- 
ryland. In 1781 he was re-elected to the same station, and 
in 1788, on the adoption of the federal constitution, was 
chosen to the senate of the United States. 

In 1791 Mr. Carroll relinquished his seat in the national 
senate, and was again called to the senate of his native state. 
This office he continued to holcf until 1804, at which time the 
democratic party was successful in electing their candidate, 
to the exclusion of this long tried and faithful patriot. At 


this time, Mr. Carroll took leave of public life, and sought in 
retirement the quiet enjoyment 6f his family circle. 

Since the date of his retirement from public office, few in- 
cidents have occurred in the life of this worthy man, which 
demand particular notice. Like a peaceful stream, his days 
liave glided along, and have continued to be lengthened out, 
"while the generation of illustrious men, with whom he acted 
on the memorable fourth of July, 1776, have all descended to 
the tomb. 

At the age of nearly ninety-two years, he alone survives. 
** He seems an aged oak, standing alone on the plain, which 
time has spared a little longer, after all its contemporaries 
have been levelled with the dust. Sole survivor of an assem 
bly of as great men as the world has witnessed, in a transac- 
tion, one of the most important that history records ; whal 
thoughts, what reflections, must at times fill his soul! If he 
dwell on the past, how touching its recollections ; if he sur 
vey the present, how happjr, how joyous, how full of the frui- 
tion of hope, which his ardent patriotism indulged; if he 
glance at the future, how must the prospect of his country's 
advancement almost bewilder his weakened conceptions. 
Fortunate, distinguished patriot ! Interesting relic of the 
past !" 

To few men has it been permitted to number so many 
years — to none, to have filled them up more honourably and 
usefully, than Charles Carroll. Happy in the recollection of 
the past— conscious of a life well spent, and possessing 

A peace abore all earthly dignliie*— 
A still and quiet conscience^ 

He may well hope to pass the remaining hours of the even- 
ing of his life in tranquillity ; and may be assured, that when 
called to follow his illustrious predecessors to the grave, 
liberty, and intelligence, and patriotism, and afl!ection, will 
weep at his departure, while they will rejoice that his honour 
is placed where no accident can reach it, and no stain can 
tarnish it. 


Gboboe Wtths, 
Richard Henrt Leb, 
Thokas Jefterson, 
Benjamin Harruon, 
Thokas Nelson, Jun. 
Francis Liohtfoqt Lss, 
Carter Brajcton. 


George Wttbb was a native of the county of Elizabeth 
city, Virginia, where he was born in the year 1726. His 
fttber was a respectable farmer, in easy circumstances, and 
bestowed upon his son a competent patrimony. At a proper 
age he was placed at school ; but the knowledge which he 
here obtained was extremely limited and superficial, being 
confined to the English language, and the elementary rules 
of arithmetic. Fortunately for young Wythe, his mother 
was a woman of extensive knowledge for thoat times, and 
undertook to supply the defect of his scholastic education. 
By her assistance, the powers of his mind, which were ori- 
ginally strong and active, rapidly unfolded. He became ac- 
curately versed in the Latin and Greek languages, and mad^. 
honourable attainments ir several of the solid sciences, aad 
in polite literature. 


Before he became of age, he had the misfortune to lose 
his excellent mother, whose death was, not long after, follow- 
ed by that of his father. Being deprived, at this unguarded 
period of life, of the counsel and example of these natural 
^ardians, he became devoted, for several years, to amuse- 
ment and dissipation, to which he was strongly enticed by the 
fortune that had been left him. During this period, his litera- 
ry pursuits were almost entirely neglected ; and there was 
the greatest reason to fear he would not escape that vortex 
into which so many young men remedilessly sink. At the 
age of thirty, the principles which had been instilled into his 
mind by his virtuous parents, asserted their proper influence 
over him. He abandoned his youthful follies, applied him- 
self with indefatigable industry to study, and from this date, 
during a life which was protracted to the uncommon age of 
eighty years, he maintained a tigid and inflexible integrity of 

Devoting himself to the profession of law, he pursued his 
preparatory studies under the direction of Mr. John Lewis. 
The courts in Virginia, where he was called to practice, were 
filled by gentlemen of distinguished ability in their profes- 
sion. With these he soon held an equal rank, and eventual- 
ly, by his superior learning, greater industry, and more pow- 
erful eloquence, occupied the chief place at the bar. 

The estimation in which he was held by his fellow-citizens, 
was early manifested in an appointment from his native coun- 
ty to a seat in the house of burgesses. This station he held 
for several years, even to the dawn of the revolution. In this 
assembly were found, from time to time, men of distinguish- 
ed genius and of great attainments. Among these, George 
Wythe was conspicuous. In 1764, he assisted in preparing 
a petition to ftie king, a memorial to the house of lords, and 
a remonstrance to the house of commons, on the subject of 
the stamp act, which was then occupying the deliberations of 
parliament. The remonstrance to the house of commons 
was the production of his pen. The tone and language of 
this paper were both in spirit and style of too independent a 
character for the times, especially in the estimation of the 



BMfe timid in the home oC borfesies, who required, b^v- 
fore it receired their Miictiost tfaet its asperities slrauld be 

We here had frequent occasion* in the course of these 
Hogmphical sketches, to allude to the friendly feelings of the 
Americans, at this time, to the parent country. Few* if any, 
were to be fonnd whose views or wishes extended to a sepa- 
iBtion from Great Britain. Hence, the language which was 
need by the colonies, in setting forth their rights, was gene- 
rally supplicatory in its style. Their remonstninces were 
mild and coneOiatory. These, however, it was at length 
Ibund, were in rain, and a loftier tone was adopted. 

The passage of the celebrated stamp act, in January, 1766^ 
diffused a spirit of discontent and opposition throughout all 
the American colonies, and was the signal for the commence- 
ment of those stronger measures which led on to the great 
revolutionary struggle. 

In measures of this kind, it is well known that Virginia 
took the lead. About this time, Patrick Henry, a young 
man, became a member of the house of burgesses. Although 
a young man, he was possessed of a most powerful eloquence, 
and of an intrepidity of character which eminently fitted him 
to take the lead in the work of opposition. 

Towards the close of the session, in May, 1765, Mr. Henry 
presented to the house the following resolutions : 

** Resolved, That the first adventurers and settlers of this, 
his majesty's colony and dominion, brought with them, and 
transmitted to their posterity, and all other his majesty's sub- 
jects, since inhabiting in this, his majesty's said colony, all 
the privileges, franchises, and immunities, that have at any 
time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of 
Great Britain. 

*' That by two royal charters granted by King James the 
First, the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all the 
privileges and immunities of deniaens and natural bom sub- 
jects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding 
and bora vrithin the realm of England. 

** That the taxation of the peojde by ihemaelve% or by pei^ 


CK>n8 chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only 
know what taxes the people are able to bear, and the easiest 
mode of raising them, is the distinguishing characteristic of 
Sritish freedom, and without which the ancient constitution 
cannot subsist. 

** That his majesty's liege people of this most ancient co- 
lony have, uninterruptedly, enjoyed the right of being thus 
^OTerned by their own assembly in the article of their taxes 
and internal police ; and that the same hath never been foi^ 
feited, or any other way given up, but hath been constantly 
recognized by the king and people of Great Britain. 

" Resolved, therefore, that the general assembly of this co- 
lony have the sole right and power to lay taxes and imposi- 
tions upon the inhabitants of this colony : and that any at- 
tempt to vest such power in any person or persons what- 
soever, other than the general assembly aforesaid, has a 
manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American 

The language of these resolutions, so much stronger than 
the house had been accustomed to hear, at once caused no in- 
considerable alarm among many of its members. A power- 
ful opposition arose to their passage, and in this opposition 
were to be found some of the warmest friends of American 
independence. Among these was Mr. Wythe ; not that he, 
and many others, did not admit the justice of the sentiments 
contained in the resolutions ; but they remonstrated on the 
ground of their tending to involve the colony, at a time when 
it was unprepared, in open hostility with Great Britain. The 
eloquence of Henry, however, silenced, if it did not convince 
the opposition, and produced the adoption of the resolutions 
without any material alteration. As the fifth resolution was 
carried by a majority of only a single vote, the house, on the 
following day, in the absence of Henry, rescinded that re- 
solution, and directed it to be erased from the journals. 

The above resolutions spread rapidly through the Ameri- 
can colonies, and in every quarter of the country found men, 
who were ready to justify both their spirit and language. 
They served to rouse the energies of the American people, 


Mid were among the measwes which poirerfoUy urgred am 
the reTolntionary contest The bold and decided measure 
Ihna adopted in ihe colony of Virginia, loudly called upon the 
patriots of other states to follow her in measnres of a similai 
character. This they were not backward in dcnng. Aftet 
Ihe temporary reidfral of the affection of th^ colonies, conse- 
quent upon the repeal of the stamp act, had ceased, their op* 
position became a principle, and in its operation was strong 
and lasting. In the history of the opposition of America to 
Great Britain, the colony of Virginia did themselves immor- 
tal honour. In this honour, as an individual, Mr. 'Wythe 
largely participates. For many years, during the approach 
of the great conflict, he held a seat in the house of burgesses ; 
and by his learning, his boldness, his patriotic firmness, 
powerfully contributed to the ultimate liberty and indepen- 
dence of his country. 

In 1775, he was appointed a delegate from his native state 
to the continental congress in Philadelphia ; and in the fol- 
lowing year, assisted in bringing forward and publishing to 
the world the immortal declaration of independence. During 
this latter year, Mr. Wythe was appointed, in connexion with 
Thomas Jefferson, Edward Pendleton, aqd several others, to 
revise the laws of the state of Virginia, and to accommodate 
them to the great change which had been effected in her 
transition from a colony to an independent state. In this im- 
portant work, only the three gentlemen mentioned were ac- 
tually engaged. The original commission included also the 
names of George Mason and Thomas Ludwell Lee ; the for- 
mer of whom deceased before the committee entered upon 
the duties assigned them ; and the latter tendered his resig- 
nation, leaving the arduous task to be accomplished by the 
gentlemen already named. 

" The report of this committee was at lengtn made, and 
showed such an intimate knowledge of the great principles of 
legislation, as reflected the highest honour upon those who 
formed it. The people of Virginia are indebted to it for the 
best parts of their present code of laws. Among the changes 
then made in the monarchical system of jurisprudence, which 


hud been preriously in force* the most important were effected by 
the act abolishing the right of primogemtnre, and directing the 
real estate of persons dying intestate, to be equally divided 
.among their chOdren, or other nearest relations ; by the act for 
regulating conveyances, which converted all estates in tail into 
fees simple, thus destroying one of the supports of the proud 
and overbearing distinctions of particular families ; and finally 
by the act for the establishment of religious freedom. Had 
all the proposed bills been adopted by the legislature, other 
changes of great importance would have taken place* A wise 
and universal system of education would have been establish- 
ed, giving to the children of the poorest citizen the oppor- 
tunity of attaining science, and thus of rising to honour and 
extensive usefulness. The proportion between crimes and 
punishments would have been better adjusted, and malefactors 
would have been made to promote the interests of the com- 
monwealth by their labour. But the public spirit of the as- 
sembly could not keep pace with the liberal views of Wythe." 
In the year 1777, Mr. Wythe was elected speaker of the 
house Of delegates, and during the same year was appointed 
iudge of the high court of chancery of Virginia. On the new 
organization of the court of equity, in a subse;quent year, he 
was appointed sole chancellor, a station which he filled, with 
great ability, for more than twenty years. 

During the revolution, Mr. Wythe suffered greatly in re« 
spect to his property. His devotion to public services l^t 
him little opportunity to attend to his private affairs. The 
greater part of his slaves he lost by the dishonesty of his su- 
perintendant, who placed them in the hands of the British. 
By economy and judicious management, however, Mr. Wythe 
was enabled, with the residue of his estate, and with his sala- 
ry as chancellor, to discharge his debts, and to preserve his 

Of the convention of 1787, appointed to revise the federal 
constitution, Mr. Wythe was a delegate from Virginia, having 
for his colleagues Washington, Henry, Randolph, Blair, Ma- 
dison, and Mason. " During the debates, he acted for the 
most part as chairman. Being convinced that the confede* 
3 B 


ration was defeedre in the energy neeeBsary to presenre tli« 
union and liberty of America, this Tenerable patriot, then be- 
ginning to how under the weight of years, rose in the con- 
vention, and exerted his voice, almost too feeble to be heard, 
in contending for a system, on the acceptance of ivhich he 
conceived the happiness of his country to depend. He was 
ever attached to the constitution, on account of the principles 
of freedom and justice which it contained ; and in every 
change of affiiirs he was steady in supporting the rights of 
man. Hb political opinions were always firmly republican. 
Though in 1796 and 1799, he was opposed to the measures 
which were adopted in the administration of President Adamsy 
and reprobated the alien and sedition laws, and the raising of 
the army, yet he never 3delded a moment to the rancour of 
party spirit, nor permitted the difference of opinion to inter- 
fere with his private friendships. He presided twice succes- 
sively in the college of electors in Virginia, and twice voted 
far a president whose political principles coincided with his 

'* After a short, but very excruciating sickness, he died, 
June 8, 1806, in the eighty-first year of his age. It was sup- 
posed that he was poisoned ; but the person suspected was 
acquitted by a jury of his countrymen. By his last will and 
testament, he bequeathed his valuable library and philosophi- 
cal apparatus to his friend, Mr. Jefferson, and distributed the 
remainder of his little property among the grandchildren of 
his sister, and the slaves whom he had set free. He thus 
wished to liberate the blacks, not only from slavery, but from 
the temptations to vice. He even condescended to impart 
to them instruction ; and he personally taught the Greek lan- 
guage to a little negro boy, who died a few days before his 

" Chancellor Wythe was indeed an extraordinary man. 
With all his great qualities, he possessed a soul replete with 
benevolence, and his private life is full of anecdotes, which 
prove, that it is seldom that a kinder and warmer heart throbbed 
in the breast of a human being. He was of a social andaffeo 
tionate disposition* From the time when he was emand 


pated from the follies of youth, he sustained an unspotted re- 
putation. His integrity was never even suspected. 

** While he practised at the bar, when offers of an extraor- 
dinary, but well merited compensation, were made to him by 
clients, whose causes he had gained, he would say, that the 
labourer was indeed worthy of his hire ; but the lawful fee 
'Was all he had a right to demand ; and as to presents, he did 
not want, and would not accept them from any man. This 
grandeur of mind, he uniformly preserved to the end of his 
life. His manner of living was plain and abstemious. He 
found the means of suppressing the desires of wealth by limit- 
ing the number of his wants. An ardent desire to promote 
the happiness of his fellow men, by supporting the cause of 
lustice, and maintaining and establishing their rights, appears 
to have been his ruling passion. 

<^ As a judge, he was remarkable for his rigid impartiality, 
and sincere attachment to the principles of equity; for his vast 
and various learning ; and for his strict and unwearied atten* 
tion to business. Superior to popular prejudices, and every 
corrupting influence, nothing could induce him to swerve from 
truth and right. In his decisions, he seemed to be a pure in* 
telligence, untouched by human passions, and settling the dis* 
putes of men, according to the dictates of eternal and immu- 
table justice. Other judges have surpassed him in genius, and 
a certain facility in despatching causes ; but while the vigour 
of his faculties remained unimpaired, he was seldom surpassed 
in learning, industry, and judgment. 

" From a man, entrusted with such high concerns, and 
whose time was occupied by so many difficult and perplexing 
avocations, it could scarcely have been expected, that he should 
have employed a part of it in the toilsome and generally unplea- 
sant task of the education of youth. Yet, even to this, he was 
prompted by his genuine patriotism and philanthropy, which 
induced him for many years to take great delight in educating 
such young persons as showed an inclination for improve- 
ment. Harassed as he was with business, and enveloped 
with papers belonging to intricate suits in chancery, he yet 
found time to keep a private school for the instruction of a 


few tehokny ahrayi with Terjr Utile eompematiotf; and of 
ten demanding none. Several Unng ornaments of their comi- 
try reeeiTed their greatest lights from his snblime example and 
iBstmetion. Sach was the iqnri^t and venerable Wythe.'* 


RiCHARB HsHRT Lss, a descendant from an anei^ait and 
dbtingnished family in Yirginiay was born in Westmoreland 
covnty, of that province, on the twentieth of January, 1732. 
• As the schools of the country for many years furnished but 
few advantages for an education, those who were able to meet 
the expense, were accustomed to send their sons ab];x>ad for 
instruction. At a proper age, young Lee was sent to a flou- 
rishing school, then existing at Wakesiield, in the county oi 
Yorkshire, England. The talents which he possessed, indus- 
trionsly employed under the guidance of respectable tutors, 
rendered his literary acquisitions easy and rapid ; and in a few 
years he returned to his native country, with a mind well 
stored with scientific and classical knowledge. 

For several years following his return to America, he con- 
tinued his studies with persevering industry, greatly adding to 
the stock of knowledge which he had gained abroad, by 
which he was still more eminently fitted for tiiS conspicuous 
part he was destined to act in the approaching revolutionary 
struggle of his country. 

About the year 1757, Mr. Lee was called to a seat in the 
house of burgesses. For several years, however, he made 
but an indififerent figure, either as an orator or the leader of a 
party, owing, it is said, to a natural difiidence, which prevent- 
ed him from displaying those powers with which he was 
gifted, or exercising that influence to which he was entitled. 
This impediment, however, was gradually removed, when 
he rapidly rose into notice, and became conspicuous as a pofi 


tical leader in his country, and highly distinguished for a na- 
tural, easy, and at the same time impressive eloquence. 

In the year 1765, Patrick Henry proposed the celebrated 
resolutions against the stamp act, noticed in the preceding 
sketch of the life of Mr. Wythe. During the debate on these 
resolutions, Mr. Lee arrived at the seat of government, soon 
after which he entered with great spirit into the debate, and 
powerfully assisted in carrying these resolutions through the 
liouse, in opposition to the timidity of some, and the mis* 
taken judgment of others. 

The above strong and spirited resolutions served, as has 
already been noticed in a former page, to rouse the energies 
of the Americans, and to concentrate that feeling, which was 
spending itself without obtaining any important object. Not 
long after the above resolutions were carried, Mr. Lee pre- 
sented to his fellow citizens the plan of an association, the 
object of which was an e^ctual resistance to the arbitrary 
power of the mother country, which was manifesting itself 
in various odious forms ; and especially in that detestable . 
measure, the stamp act. The third article of the constitu- 
tion of this association will show the patriotic and determined 
spirit which prevailed in the county of Westmoreland, the 
people of which generally united in the association. '' As the 
stamp act does absolutely direct the property of people to be 
taken from them, without their consent, expressed by their 
representatives, and as in many cases it deprives the British 
American subject of his right to be tried by jury, we do deter- 
mine, at every hazard, and paying no regard to death, to 
exert every faculty to prevent the execution of the stamp act, 
in every instance, within the colony." 

The influence of this association, and of other associations 
of a similar kind, rendered the execution of the stamp act dif- 
ficult, and even impossible. It was a measure to which the 
Americans would not submit; and the ministry of Great Bri- 
tain were reluctantly forced to repeal it. To Mr. Lee, as 
well as to his countrymen, the removal of the stamp act was 
an occasion of no small joy ; but the clause accompanying the 
repealing act, which declared ike power of parliameiU to hini 




Ae colonies in all cooes whatever ^ was a dark cloud, which in 
a measure obscured the brightness of the prospect, and fore- 
boded an approachmg storm. 

In the year 1773, Mr. Lee brought forward in the Virginia 
house of burgesses his celebrated plan for the formation of a 
committee of correspondence, whose object was to dissemi 
nate information, and to kindle the flame of tiberty, through- 
out the continent ; or, in other language, ** to watch the con- 
duct of the British parliament, to spread more widely correct 
information on topics connected with the interests of the co- 
lonies, and to form a closer^union of the men of influence in 
each." The honour of having first established corresponding 
societies is claimed both by Massachusetts and Virginia'; the 
former placing the merit to the account of her distinguished 
patriot, Samuel Adams ; and the latter assigning it to Richard 
Henry Lee. It is probable, however, 'that each of these dis- 
tinguished men are entitled to equal honour, in respect to ori- 
ginating a plan which contributed, more than most others, to a 
unity of sentiment and harmony of action among the difl^rent 
leaders in the respective colonies. Without concert between 
them, each of these individuals seems to have introduced the 
plan, about the same period, to the legislatures of their re- 
spective colonies. It is certain, however, that in respect to 
Mr. Lee, the plan of these corresponding societies was not 
the result of a few days reflection only. It had occupied his 
thoughts for several years ; had been there forming and ma 
turing, and, at length, was proposed and adopted, to the infi- 
nite advantage of the cause of liberty in the country. 

Of the distinguished congress which met at Philadelphia in 

1774, Mr. Lee was a delegate from Virginia, with Washington 

nd Henry. In the deliberations of this celebrated body, 

. Lee acted a conspicuous part, and served on several com- 

ittees ; and to his pen is attributed the memorial, which the 
continental congress authorized, to the people of British Ame- 
rica. In the following year, Mr. Lee received the unanimous 
suflrage of the district in which he resided to the assembly of 
Virginia, by which he was deputed to represent the colony 
in the second congress, which was to meet on the tenth of 


May of thfti year. At the same time, he received an expres- 
sion of the thanks of the assembly, " for his cheerful under- 
taking, and faithful discharge of the trust reposed in him, 
during the session of the last congress." 

On the meeting of this second congress, it was apparent 
that all hope of peace and reconciliation with the mother 
country was at an end. Indeed, hostilities had actually com- 
menced ; the busy note of preparation was heard in all the 
land. Washington was summoned by the unanimous voice 
of congress to the command of the American armies ; and 
his commission and instructions it fell to Mr. Lee to Airntsh, 
as the chairman of a committee appointed for that purpose. 
During the same session, also, he was placed on committees 
which were appointed to the important duties of preparing 
munitions of war, encouraging the manufacture of saltpetre 
and arms, and for devising a plan for the more rapid commu** 
nication of intelligence throughout the colonies. 

The period had now arrived, when the thoughts of th^ 
American people were turned, in solemn earnest, to the great 
subject of American independence. Most of the colonies 
were already prepared to hail with joy a measure which 
should declare to the world their determination to be ac- 
counted a free and indep>endent people. Most of the provin- 
cial assemblies had published resolutions in favour of such a 
declaration, and had even instructed their delegates to urge 
apon congress the importance and necessity of this decisive step. 
Mr. Lee was selected to move the resolution in congress 
on this great subject. This he did on the Seventh of June, 
1776, in the following words : ** That these united colonies 
are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states ; 
that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British 
crown ; and that all political connexion between them and the 
state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." 
The motion, thus introduced by Mr. Lee, he followed by 
one of the most luminous and eloquent speeches ever deli 
vered, either by himself or any other gentleman, on the floor 
of congress. '*Why then, sir,'' (said he, in conclusion,) 
" why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate ? Let thi« 


happy day gire birth to an American republic. Let her arise, 
not to devastate and to conquer, but to re-establish the rcigo 
of peace and of law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us ; 
she demands of us a living example of freedom, that may ex- 
hibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever in- 
creasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She 
invites us to prepare an asylum, where the unhappy may find 
solace, and the persecuted repose. She entreats us to culti- 
Tate a propitious soil, where that generous plant which first 
sprung and grew in England, but is now withered by the 
poisonous blasts of Scottish tyranny, may revive and flourish, 
sheltering under its salubrious and interminable shade, all 
the unfortunate of the human race. If we are not this day 
wanting in our duty, the name^ of the American legislators 
of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of Theseus, 
Lycurgus, and Romulus, of the three Williams of Nassau, 
and of all those whose memory has been, and ever will be, 
dear to virtuous men and good citizens." 

The debate on the above motion of Mr. Lee was protracted 
until the tenth of June, on which day congress resolved : 
** that the consideration of the resolution respecting indepen- 
dence be postponed till the first Monday in July next; and, in 
the mean while, that no time be lost, in case the congress 
agree thereto, that a committee be appointed to prepare a 
declaration to the efiect of the said resolution." 

On the day on which this resolution was taken, Mr. Lee 
was unexpectedly summoned to attend upon his family in 
Virginia, some Of the members of which were at that time 
dangerously ill. As the mover of the original resolution for 
independence, it would, according to parliamentary usage, 
have devolved upon Mr. Lee to have been appointed chair- 
man of the committee selected to prepare a declaration, and, 
as chairman, to have furnished that important document. In 
the absence of Mr. Lee, however, Mr. Jefierson was elected 
to that honour, by whom it was drawn up with singular en 
ergy of style and argument. 

In the following month, Mr. Lee resumed his seat in con* 
gress, in which body he continued till June, 1777, during 


Trhich period he continaed the same round of active exertions 
Tor the welfare of his country. It was his fortune, however, 
' as well as the fortune of others, to have enemies, who charged 
liiiii with disaffection to his country, and attachment to Great 
Britain. The ground upon which this charge was made, was, 
that contrary to his former practice, previously to the war, 
lie received the rents of his tenants in the produce of their 
farms, instead of colonial money, which had now hecome 
greatly depreciated. This accusation, though altogether un- 
just, and unwarrantable, at length gained so much credit, that 
the name of Mr. Lee was omitted by the assembly, in their 
tist of delegates to congress. This gave him an opportunity, 
and furnished him with a motive, to demand of the assembly 
an inquiry into the nature of ihe allegations against him. 
The inquiry resulted in an entire acquittal, and in an expres* 
sion of thanks to Mr. Lee, which was conveyed, on the part 
of the house, by their speaker, Mr. Wythe, in the following 
language : — '^ It is with peculiar pleasure, sir, that I obey this 
command of the house, because it gives me an opportunity, 
while I am performing an act of duty to them, to perform an 
act of justice to yourself. Serving with you in congress, and 
attentively observing your conduct there, I thought that you 
manifested, in the American cause, a zeal truly patriotic ; and 
as far as I could judge, exerted the abilities for which you are 
confessedly distinguished, to promote the good and prosperity 
of your own country in particular, and of the United States 
in general. That the tribute of praise deserved, may reward 
those who do well, and encourage others to follow your ex- 
ample, the house have come to this resolution: that the thanks 
of this house be given by the speaker to Richard Henry Lee, 
for the faithful services he has rendered his country, in dis- 
charge of his duty, as one of the delegates from this state in 
general congress." 

At a subsequent period, Mr. Lee was again elected a dele- 
gate to congress ; but during the session of 1778 and 1779, 
in consequence of ill health, he was obliged frequently to ab- 
sent himself from the arduous cfoties which devolved upon 
him, and which he could no longer sustain. From this timet 
3C 32» 


QntQ 1784, Mr. Lee declined accepting a seat in congress, 
from a belief that he might be more uaeful to his natiye state, 
by holding a seat in her assembly. In this latter year, ho-vr 
ever, the people of Virginia again honoured him, by appoint- 
ing him one of her representatives to congress, of which body 
he was unanimously elected president. In this exalted sta- 
tion he presided with great ability ; and on the expiration of 
his time of service, he received the thanks of congress for his 
able and faithful discharge of the duties of president, while 
acting in that station.*' 

To the adoption of the federal constitution without amend- 
ment, although not a member of the convention which dis- 
cussed its merits, he was strongly opposed. The tendency 
of the constitution, he apprehended, was to consolidation. To 
guard against this, it was his wish that the respective states 
should impart to the federal head only so much power as 
was necessary for mutual safety and happiness. Under the 
new constitution, Mr. Lee was appointed the first senator from 
Virginia ; in the exercise of which office, he offered several 
amendments to the constitution, from the adoption of which 
he hoped to lessen the danger to the country, which he had 

About the year 1792, Mr. Lee, enfeebled by his long at- 
tention to public duties, and by the infirmities of age, retired 
to the enjoyment of his family and friends. Not long after, 
he had the pleasure of receiving from the senate and house 
of delegates of Virginia, the following unanimous vote of 
thanks : ^' Resolved, unanimously, that the speaker be de- 
sired to convey to Richard Henry Lee, the respects of the 
senate ; that they sincerely sympathise with him in those in- 
firmities, which have deprived their country of his valuable 
services ; and that they ardently wish he may, in his retire- 
ment, with uninterrupted happiness, close the evening of a 
life, in which he hath so conspicuously shone forth as a states- 
man and a patriot ; that while mindful of his many exertions 
to promote the public interests, they are particularly thankful 
for his conduct as a member of the legislature of ^e United 


The life of Mr. Lee was contiQued until the nineteenth of 
June, 1794, when he breathed his last, at the age of sixty- 
three years. 

Few men, in any age or in any country, have shone with 
greater brilliancy, or have left a more desirable name, than 
Richard Henry Lee. Both in public and private life, he had 
few equals. In his public career, he was distinguished for 
no common ardour and disinterestedness. As an orator, he 
exercised an uncommon sway over the minds of men. His 
manners were perfectly graceful, and his language universally 
chaste. " Although somewhat monotonous, his speeches," 
says a writer, " were always pleasing, yet he did not ravish 
your senses, nor carry away your judgment by storm. His 
was the mediate class of eloquence, described by Rollin in 
his belles lettres. He was like a beautiful river, meandering 
through a flowiery mead, but which never overflowed its banks. 
It was Henry who was the mountain torrent, that swept away 
every thing before it ; it was he alone, who thundered and 
lightened ; he alone attained that sublime species of eloqu(Ace, 
also mentioned by Rollin." 

In private life, Mr. Lee was justly the delight of all who 
knew him. He had a numerous family of children, the ojQT-* 
spring of two marriages, who were eminently devoted to their 
father, who in his turn delighted to administer to their inno- 
cent enjoyments, and to witness the expansion of their intel- 
lectual powers. 

We conclude this hasty sketch, with the following account 
of Mr. Lee, from the flowing pen of the author of the life of 
Patrick Henry. — "Mr. Lee," says he, "had studied the 
classics in the true spirit of criticism. His taste had that de- 
licate touch, which seized with intuitive certainty every 
beauty of an author, and his genius that native affinity, which 
combined them without an eflbrt. Into every walk of litera- 
ture and science, he had carried his mind of exquisite selec- 
tion, and brought it back to the business of life, crowned with 
every light of learning, and decked with every wreath that 
all the- muses and all the graces could entwine. Nor did 
these light decorations constitute tlie whole value of its 


S80 ▼nomiA dblboatiov. 

freight He poseeseed a rich store of political knowledge, 
with an activity of obserration, and a certainty of judgment, 
which turned that knowledge to the very best account. He 
was not a lawyer by profession, but he understood thoroughly 
the constitution both of the mother country and of her colo- 
nies, and the elements, also, of the civil and municipal law. 
Thus, while his eloquence was free from those stiff and tech* 
nieal restraints, which the habit of forensic speaking are so 
apt to generate, he had all the legal learning which is neces- 
sary to a statesman. He reasoned well, and declaimed freely 
and splendidly. The note of his voice was deep and melo- 
dious. It was the canorous voice of Cicero. He had lost 
the use of one of his hands, which he kept constantly covered 
with a black silk bandage, neatly fitted to the palm of his 
hand, but leaving his thumb free ; yet, notwithstanding this 
disadvantage, his gesture was so graceful and highly finished, 
that it was said he had acquired it by practising before a mir- 
ror. Such was his promptitude, that he required no prepa- 
ratiJh for debate. He was ready for any subject, as soon as 
it was announced, and his speech was so copious, so rich, so 
mellifluous, set ofif with such bewitching cadence of voice, 
and such captivating grace of action, Hhat while you listened 
to him, you desired to hear nothing superior ; and, indeed, 
thought him perfect. He had quick sensibility and a fervid 


Thomas Jefferson was bom on the second day of April, 
O. S. 1743, at a place called Shadwell, in ike county of Al- 
bermarle, and state of Virginia, a short distance from Mon- 
tioello. His family were among the earliest emigrants from 
England. They sustained an honourable standing in the 
territory in which they resided, and lived in circumstances of 


considerable affluence. His father, Peter Jefferson, was 
much known in the province, as a gentleman of considerable 
scientific attainments, and more than ordinary firmness and 
'' integrity. It was probably in consequence of these qualifica- 
tions, that he was selected as one of the commissioners ap- 
pointed to the delicate and responsible task of determining 
the division line between Virginia and North Carolina. On 
the decease of the father, the son inherited from him an ex- 
^ tensive and valuable estate. 

Of the early incidents in the life of Thomas Jefferson, but 
little is known. He was entered, while yet a youth, a stu- 
- dent in the college of William and Mary, in Williamsburg ; 

but the precise standing which he occupied among his litera- 
ry associates, is probably now lost. He doubtless, however, 
left the college with no inconsiderable reputation. He ap- 
pears to have been imbued with an early love of letters and 
science, and to have cherished a strong disposition to the 
physical sciences especially ; and to ancient classical litera- 
ture, he is understood to have had a warm attachment, and 
never to have lost sight of them, in the midst of the busiest 

On leaving college, he applied himself to the study of the 
law under the tuition of George Wythe, of whose high judi- 
cial character we have had occasion to speak in a preceding 
memoir. In the office of this distinguished man, he acquired 
that unrivalled neatness, system, and method in business, 
which through all his future life, and in every office that he 
filled, gave him so much power and despatch. Under the 
direction of his distinguished preceptor, he became intimately 
acquainted with the whole round of the civil and common 
law. From the same distinguished example he caught that 
untiring spirit of investigation, which never left a subject till 
he had searched it to the very foundation. In short, Mr. 
' Wythe performed for him, as one of his eulogists remarks, 
what Jeremiah Gridley did for his great rival, Mr. Adams ; 
he placed on his head the crown of legal preparation, and 
well did it become him. 
For his able legal preceptor, Mr. Jefferson always enter- 

9n wramuiu. ]>si.s«ATif v. 

tuned the greateet respect and (Hendship. Indeed, the at- 
tachment of preceptor and pupil was mntnal, and for a long 
series of yeais continued to acquire strengA aud stabilitj. 
At the close of his life, in 1806, it was found that Mr. "Wjthe 
bad bequeathed his library and philosophical apparatus to 
bis pupil, as a testimony of the estimation in wluch he was 
held by his- early preceptor and aged friend. 

Mr. Jefferson wiks called to the bar in the year 176& 
With the advantages which he had enjoyed with respect to 
legal preparation, it might naturally be expected that he 
would appear with distinguished credit in the practice of his 
profession. The standing which b^ occupied at the bar, may 
be gathered from the following account, the production of 
the biographer of Patrick Henry : *^ It has been thought that 
Mr. Jefferson made no figure at the bar ; but the case was far 
otherwise. There are still extant, in his own fair and neat 
hand, in the manner of his master, a number of arguments, 
which were delirered by him at the bar, upon some of the 
most intricate questions of the law ; which, if they shall erer 
aee the light, will vindicate his claim to the first honours of 
the profession. It is true, he was not distinguished in popular 
debate ; why he was not so, has often been matter of surprise 
to those who have seen his eloquence on paper, and heard it 
in conversation. He had all the attributes- of the mind, and 
the heart, and the soul, which are essential to eloquence of 
the highest order. The only defect was a physical one : he 
wanted volume and compass of voice, for a large deliberative 
assembly ; and his voice, from the excess of his sensibility, 
insteikd of rising with his feelings and conceptions, sunk under 
their pressure, and became guttural and inarticulate. The 
consciousness of this infirmity, repressed any attempt in a 
large body, in which he knew he must fail. But his voice 
was'^all sufficient for the purposes of judicial debate; and 
there is no reason to doubt that, if the service of his country 
h^d not called him away so soon from his prpfession, his 
fame as a lawyer would now have stood upon the same dis- 
tinguished ground, which he confessedly occupied as a state** 
man, an author, and a scholar." 

THOMAS ySV7M9l>ir» ttS 

The year previous to Mr. Jefferson's admission to the hoFy 
Mr. Henry introduced into the Virginia house of hurgesses* 
then sitting at Williamsburg, his celebrated resolutions 
against the stamp act. Mr. Jefferson was, at this time, pre- 
sent at the debate. " He was then,'' he says, " but a student! 
and stood in the door of communication, between the house 
and the lobby, where he heard the whole of this magnificent 
debate. The opposition to the last resolution was most ve* 
hement ; the debate upon it, to use his own strong language, 
* most bloody ;' but," he adds, " torrents of sublime eloquence 
from Henry, backed by the solid reasoning of Johnson, pre* 
vailed ; and the resolution was carried by a single vote. , I 
well remember," he continues, *^ the cry of * treason,' by the 
speaker, echoed from every part of the house, against Mr. 
Henry : I well remember his pause, and the admirable ad- 
dress with which he recovered himself, and baffled the charge 
Uius vociferated." 

He here alludes to that memorable exclamation of Mr. 
Henry, now become almost too familiar for quotation: 
" Ceesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and 
George the Third (^ treason !' cried t)ie speaker ; ' treason ! 
treason !' echoed the house ;) may profit by their example. 
If this be treason, make the most of it." 

The talents of Mr. Jefferson, which were early well knowti* 
permitted him not long to remain in a private station, or to 
pursue the ordinary routine of his profession. A career of 
more extensive usefulness, and objects of greater importance, 
were now presented to him. His country demanded his sei^ 
vices ; and at the early age of twenty-five, that is, in the 
year 1769, he entered the house of burgesses in Virginia, and 
then first inscribed his name as a champion of his country's 

At a former period, the attachment of the American colo- 
9de» to England was like that of an affectionate child towards 
a venerable parent. In Virginia, this attachment was unusu- 
ally strong. Various circumstances combined to render it 
«o. Many of the families of that province were allied to dis- 
tingmshed families in England, and.tbe sons of the form«r 


9M Timauiu vblbgatxok. 


•ought their edueation in the muTersitiefl of the mother coun- 
try* It was not singular, therefore, that a strong aflfeotioo. 
should exist, on the part of this colony, for the people in. 
England, nor that the people of the colonies generaUy should 
have come to the sererance of these ties with peculiar reluc* 
tance. Resistance, however, was at length forced upon them, 
by the rash course pursued by the British ministry. The rights 
of the colonies were invaded ; their choicest privileges were 
taken away, and loudly were the patriots of America called 
upon, by the sufferings of the country, to awake to a strong and 
effectual resistance. At this time, Mr. Jefferson commenced 
his political career, and has himself given us, in few words, 
an outline of the reasons which powerfully imt>elled him to 
enter the lists, with other American patriots, against the par 
rent country. 

** The colonies," says he, *' were taxed internally and ex- 
ternally ; their essential interests sacrificed to individuals ia 
Great Britain ; their legislatures suspended ; charters an- 
nulled ; trials by jurors taken away ; their persons subjected 
to transportation across the Atlantic, and- to trial by foreign 
judicatories ; their supplications for redress thought beneath 
answer, themselves published as cowards in the councils of 
their mother country, and courts of Europe ; armed troops 
sent amongst them, to enforce submission t^i these violences ; 
and actual hostilities commenced against them. No alterna- 
tive was presented, but resistance or imconditional submis- 
sion. Between these there could be no hesitation. They 
dosed in the appeal to arms." 

In the year 1773, Mr. Jefferson became a member of the 
first committee oC correspondence; established by the pro- 
vincial assemblies. We have already noticed the claim 
which Virginia and Massachusetts have respectively urged, 
to the honour of having first suggested this important mea- 
sure in the revolution. Both, probably, in respect to this, 
are entitled to equal credit ; but Co whomsoever the honour 
belongs, that honour is, indeed, great, since this measure, 
more than most others, contributed to that union of action 
and sentiment, which characterized the proceedings of tha 



seTeral colonies, and which was the foundation of their final 
triumph over an ancient and powerful kingdom. 

In 1T74, Mr. Jefferson published a "Summary View of 
the Rights of British America," a valuable production among 
those intended to show the dangers which threatened the 
liberties of the country, and to encourage the people in their 
defence. This pamphlet was addressed to the king, whom, 
in language respectful but bold, it reminded that America 
was settled by British freemen, whose rights had been vio* 
lated ; upon whom the hand of tyranny was thus heavily 
lying, and from the sufferings which they were experiencing, 
they must be, and they would be, free. 

The bold and independent language of this pamphlet gave 
great umbrage to Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of the 
province. Mr. Jefferson, on avowing himself the author of 
the pamphlet, was threatened with a prosecution for higli 
treason by the governor ; a threat, which he probably would 
have carried into effect, could he have hpped that the vindic- 
tive measure would succeed. 

In the following year, 1775, Mr. Jefersonwas selected by 
the Virginia legislature to answer Lord North's famous 
" Conciliatory proposition," called, in the language of the 
day, his " Olive branch ;" but it was an olive branch that 
concealied a serpent ; or, as the former President Adams ob* 
served, " it was an asp, in a basket of flowers*" The task 
assigned him, was performed by Mr. Jeflerson in a manner 
the most happy and satisfactory. The reply was cool and 
calm and close — marked with uncommon energy and keen 
sagacity. The document mliy be found in most of the his- 
tories of that period, and is manifestly one of the most ner- 
vous and manly productions of that day. It concluded with 
the following strong and independent language : 

" These, my lord, are our sentiments, on this important 
subject, which we offer only as an individual part of the 
whole empire. Final determination we leave to the general 
congress, now sitting, before whom we shall lay the papers 
your lordship has communicated to us. For ourselves, we 
have exhausted every mode of applicationi which omr inven- 
3D 33 

969 rneiHiA dslboatioh. 

tion eould sugfest, as proper and promising. We liaye ^de- 
cently remonstrated with parliament — they have added new- 
injuries to the old^ we have wearied our king with supplica- 
tions — ^he has not deigned to answer us ; we have appealed 
to the native honour and justice of the British nation — their 
efforts in our favour have hitherto been ineffectual. What 
then remains to be done ? That we commit our injuries to 
the even handed justice of that Being, who doth no wrong, 
earnestly beseeching Him to illuminate the councils, and 
prosper the endeavours of those to whom America hath con- 
fided her hopes ; that through their wise directions, we may 
again see reunited the blessings of liberty, prosperity, and 
harmony with Great Britain." 

In the month of June, 1776, Mn Jefferson appeared and 
took hb seat in the continental congress, as a delegate from 
Virginia. In this enlightened assembly, he soon became 
conspicuous among the most distinguished for their abilities 
and patriotism. He was appointed on various important 
committees, towards the discharge of whose duties he con- 
tributed his full share. The cause of liberty lay near hb 
heart, nor did he hesitate to incur all necessary hazard in 
maintaining and defending it. 

Antecedently to the year 1776, a dissolution of the union, 
with Great Britain had not been contemplated, either by con* 
gress, or the nation. During the spring of that year, how- 
ever, the question of independence became one of deep and. 
solemn reflection, among the American people. It was per- 
ceived by many in all parts of the land, that the hope of re-, 
conciliation with the parent country was at an end. It Was, 
indeed, an unequal contest, in which the colonies were en- 
gaged. It was a measure of unexampled boldness, which 
they were contemplating — a step which, should it not receive 
the smiles of a propitious Providence, would evidently in- 
volve them and their posterity in calamities, the full measure 
and duration of which no political prophet could foretel. 
But, then, it was a measure rendered necessary, by the op-, 
pression which they were suffering. The '< shadows, clouds, 
and darkness," which rested on the future, did not deter thenu^ 


The language which they adopted, and the feelings which 
they indulged, were the language and feelings of the patriotic 
Hawley, who said, " We must put to sea — ^Providence will 
bring us into port." 

It was fortunate for the cause of America, and for the cause 
of freedom, that there was a class of men at that day, who 
were adequate to the high and mighty enterprise of sunder- 
ing the ties which hound the colonies. For this they were 
doubtless specially raised up by the God of heaven ; for this 
they were prepared by the lofty energies of their minds, and 
by that boldness and intrepidity of character, which, perhaps, 
never so signally marked another generation of men. 
• The measure thus determined upon was, at length, brought 
forward in the continental congress. We have already 
noticed in several preceding sketches, the debate on this 
subject, and the important part which various individuals 
took in urging it forward. It belongs to this place to notice, 
particularly, the important services which Mr. Jefferson ren- 
dered in relation to it. A resolution had been presented by 
Richard Henry Lee to declare America free and independent. 
The debate upon this resolution was continued from the 
seventh to the tenth of June, when the further consideration 
of it was postponed until the first of July, and at the same 
time a committee of five was appointed to prepare provi- 
sionally a draught of a declaration of independence. At 
the head of this committee was placed Thomas Jefferson. 
He was at this time but thirty-two years of age, and was 
probably the youngest member of the committee, and one 
of the youngest men in the house, for he had only served 
part of the former session. 

Mr. Jefferson being chairman of this committee, the im- 
portant duty of preparing the draught of the document was 
assigned to him. It was a task of no ordinary magnitude, 
and demanded the exercise of no common judgment and fore- 
sight. By the act itself, a nation was to stand or fall. Nay, 
in its effects, it was to exercise a powerful influence upon 
other nations on the globe, and might extend forward to the 
end of time. 

To frame a document, which should precisely meet the exi 
geDcies of the case — which should set forth the causes of com- 
plaiaty according to truth — which should ahide the scrutiny 
of enemies at home and ahrojid — ^which should stand the test 
of time* especially of a day which would come, when the high 
wrought excitement, then existing, would hare subsided — 
thU was no ordinary task. Indeed, there were few minds, 
even at that day, which would have felt adequate to the un 
dertaking. * 

From his study, Mr. Jefferson at length presented to his 
colleagues the original draught A few changes only in the 
document were suggested by two of them. Dr. Franklin and 
Mr. Adams. The whole merit of the paper was Mr. Jeflfev- 
son's. On being reported to congress, it underwent a few 
other slight alterations ; none of which, however, altered the 
tone, the frame, the arrangement, or the general character of 
the instrument 

*' It has sometimes been said," observes an eloquent writer, 
**a8 if it were a derogation from the merits of this paper, that 
it contains nothing new ; that it only states grounds of pro- 
ceeding, and presses topics of argument, which had oflen been 
stated and pressed before. But it was ribi the object of the 
declaration to produce any thing new. •{! was not to invent 
reasons for independence, but to state those which governed 
the congress. For great and sufficient reasons it was pro- 
posed to declare independence ; and the proper business ot 
the paper to be drawn, was, to set forth those causes, and 
justify the authors of the measure, in any event of fortune, to 
the country and to posterity. The cause of American inde- 
pendence, moreover, was now to be presented to the world 
in such a manner, if it might so be, aa to engage its sympa- 
thy, to command its respect, to attract its admiration ; and in 
an assembly of most able and distinguished men, Thomas Jef- 
ferson had the high honour of being the selected advocate of 
this cause. To say that he performed his great work well, 
would be doing him injustice. To say that he did excellently 
well, admirably well, would be inadequate and halting praise. 
Let us rather say, that he so discharged the duty assigned 


hiiDy that all Americans may well rejoice that .the work of 
drawing the little deed of their liberties deyolved on his 

In 1778} Mr. Jefferson was appointed by congress, in con- 
junction with Dr. Franklin andSilasDeane,a commissioner to 
f^rance, for the purpose of forming a treaty of alliance and 
commerce with that nation. In consequence, however, of ill 
health, and impressed with the conviction that he could be 
of greater service to his country, and especially to his state, by 
continuing at home, he declined accepting the office, and Ar* 
thur Lee was appointed in his place. 

Between 1777 and 1779, Mr. Jefferson was employed, con- 
jointly with George Wythe and Edmund Pendleton, on a com 
mission for revising the laws of Virginia. This wHs an ar 
duous service, requiring no less than one hundred and twenty- 
six bills, which were drawn by these gentlemen, and which for 
simplicity and perspicuity have seldom been excelled. In 
respect to Mr. Jefferson, it should be noticed, that, besides 
the laborious share which he took in revising the laws of the 
state, to him belongs the honour of having first proposed the 
important laws in the Virginia code, forbidding the importa- 
tion of slaves ; concerting estates tail into fees simple ; annul- 
ling the rights of primogeniture ; establishing schools for ge- 
neral education, and confirming the rights of freedom in re- 
ligious opinion, with several others. 

In 1779, Patrick Henry, who was the first republican go- 
vernor, under the renovated constitution, and the successor 
of the earl of Dunmore, liaving served his appointed term, 
retired from that office, upon which Mr. Jefferspn was chosen 
to succeed him. To this office he was re-elected the follow- 
ing year, and continued in office until June, 1781. 

The administration of Mr. Jefferson, as governor of Virgi- 
nia, during the above term, was arduous and difficult The 
revolutionary struggle was progressing, and the southern 
states were particularly the theatre of hostile operations. At 
three several times, during his magistracy, the state of Virgi- 
nia was invaded by the enemy ; the first time in the spring of 

1780» by the ferocious General Tarlton, whose military move* 


800 TnaufiA i»ui«Anoir. 

ments were.charaeteriied by uirasnal barbarity, and who waa 
followed in his inTaaion, by the main anny» under Lord Com« 

While the eyes of aU were direeted to these military more-' 
menta in the south, the state experienced a still more unex-> 
pected and disastrous attack, from a body of troops, under 
the guidance of the infamous Arnold, whom treachery had 
rendered more daring and more rindictiye. 

In respect to preparations for hostitities within her own 
limits, the state of Virginia was sadly deficient ; nor had the 
habits and pursuits of Mr. Jefferson been of a kind which fitted 
hUn for miUUry enterprise. Aware, however, of the neces- 
sity of energy and exertion, in this season of danger and ge- 
neral distress, he applied his mind, with alacrity and ardour, 
to meet the exigencies of the case. Scarcely had Arnold left 
the coast, when Comwallis entered the state, on its southern 
border. At this time, the condition of Virginia was extreme- 
ly distressing; she was wholly unprepared ; her troops were 
fighting in remote parts of the country ; she had few military 
stores; and, to add to her distress, her finances were exhaust- 
ed. Chi the ai^roach of Arnold in January, the general as- 
sembly had hastily adjourned, to meet again at Charlottesville, 
on die twenty-fourth of May. f 

In the mean time, a most anxious part devolved upon the 
governor. He had few resources, and was obliged to depend^ 
in a great measure, upon his personal influence to obtain the 
munitions of war, and to raise and set in motion troops from 
dife^ent parts of the state. The various expedients which he 
adopted were .indicative of much sagacity, and were attended 
by success highly important to the common cause. 

On the twenty-fourth of May, the legislature was to meet 
at Charlottesville. They were not formed for business, how- 
eves, until the twenty-ei^th. A few days following which, 
the term for which Mr. Jefierson had been elected expired, 
when he again found himself a private citizen. 

On leaving the chair of state, Mr* Jefieraon retired to Mon- 
ticdlo, when intelligence was received, two days after, that a 
body of troops under con>aBiand of General Tarlton were n« 


pidly hastening to Charlottesvine, for the purpose of surpri- 
fling and capturing the members of the assembly. They had 
only time, after the alarm, was given, to adjourn to meet at 
Staunton, and to disperse, before the enemy entered the vil- 
lage. Another party had directed their course to Monticello 
to capture the ex-goyernor. Fortunately, an express hasten- 
ed from Charlottesville, to convey intelligence to Mr. Jeffer- 
son of their approach. Scarcely had the family time to make 
arrangements, indispensable for their departure, and to effect 
their escape, before the enemy were seen ascending the hill, 
leading to the mansion-house. Mr. Jefferson himself, mount- 
ing his horse, narrowly escaped, by taking a course through 
the woods. This flight of Mr. Jefferson, eminently proper, 
and upon which his safety depended-, has unwarrantably ex- 
cited in times gone by the ridicule and censure of his enemies. 

Agreeably to their appointment, the l^islature assembled at 
Staunton on the seventh, soon aAer which, at the instigation 
of Mr. George Nicholas, an inquiry was moved into the con- 
duct of Mr. Jefierson in respect to remissness in the discharge 
of his duty, at the time of Arnold's invasion. The ensuing session 
of the legislature was fixed upon for the investigation of the 
charges. At the arrival of the appointed time, Mr. Nicholas had 
become convinced that the charges were without foundation, 
and this impression having generally obtained, no one ap- 
peared to bring forward the investigation. Upon this, Mr. 
Jefferson, who had been returned a member of the assembly, 
rose in his place, and entered into a justification of his con- 
duct His statement was calm, lucid, and convincing. On 
concluding it, the house unanimously adopted the following 
resolution : 

** Resolved, That the sincere thanks of the general assem- 
bly be given to our former governor, Thomas Jefferson, for 
his impartial, upright, and attentive administration, whilst in 
office. The assembly wish, in the strongest manner, to de- 
clare the high opinion they entertain of Mr. Jefferson's abili- 
ty, rectitude, and integrity, as chief magistrate of this com- 
monwealth ; and mean, by thus publicly avowing their opi 
nion, to obviate and to remove all unmerited censure." 


To thb it may be added, that Mr. Nicholas, some time ff 
ter, did Mr. Jefienon the justice to acknowledge, in a public 
manner, the erroneous views which he had entertained, and 
to express his regret that more correct information had not 
been obtained, before the accusation had been brought forward. 

In the year 1781, Mr. Jefferson composed his "Notes on 
Virginia,** a work which grew out of a number of questions, 
proposed to him by M. De Marbois, the secretary of the 
French legation in the United States. It embraced a general 
riew of the geography of Virginia, its natural productions, 
statistics, government, history, and laws. In 1787, Mr. Jef- 
ferson published the work, under his own signature. It at- 
tracted much attention in Europe, as well as in America ; dis- 
pelled many misconceptions respecting this continent, and 
gave its author a place among men distinguished for science. 
It is still admired, and will long be admired, for the happy 
simplicity of its style, and for the extent and variety of its 

In 1783, Mr. Jefferson received the appointment of minis- 
ter plenipotentiary, to join commissioners already in Europe, 
to settle the conditions of peace between the United States 
and Great Britain. Before his embarkation, however, intel- 
ligence was received, that the preliminaries of peace had been 
signed. The necessity of his mission being removed, congress 
dispensed with his leaving America. 

In November, 1783, he again took his seat in the conti- 
nental congress ; but in May following was appointed minis- 
ter plenipotentiary to act abroad in the negotiations of com- 
mercial treaties, in conjunction with Dr. Franklin and Mr. 
Adams. In the month of July, Mr. Jefferson sailed for France, 
and joined the other commissioners at Paris, in August 

Although ample powers had been imparted to the commis- 
sioners, they were not as successful in forming commercial 
treaties as had been expected. It was of great importance to 
the United States to effect a treaty of this kind with Great 
Britain, and for this purpose Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams 
proceeded to London. In this important object they failed, 
owing, probably, to the hostile feelings which the minista^. 


indulged towards America, aad to the wounded piide which 
still rankled in their breasts ; and, moreover, to a selfish po- 
licy which they had adopted in respect to their navigation 
system, by which they intended to increase their own navi- 
gation at the expense of other nations, and especially of the 
United States. The only treaties which the commissioners 
were at this time able, to negotiate, were with Morocco and 

In 1786, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to Succeed Doctor 
Franklin as minister plenipotentiary to the court of Versailles. 
The duties of this station he continued to perform until Octo- 
ber, 1789, when he obtained leave to retire, just on the eve ot 
that tremendous revolution which has so much agitated the 
world in our times. 

The discbarge of l^r. Jefferson's diplomatic duties while 
abroad, " was marked by great ability, diligence, and patriot- 
ism ; and while he resided at Paris, in one of the most inte- 
resting periods, his character for intelligence, his love of 
knowledge, and of the society of learned men, distinguished 
him in the highest circles of the French capital. No court 
in Europe had, at that time, in Paris, a representative com- 
manding or enjoying higher regard, for political knowledge, 
or for general attainment, than the minister of this then infant 

During his residence in France, Mr. Jefferson found leisure 
to visit both Holland and Italy. In both countries he was 
received with the respect and attention due to his official sta- 
tion, as the minister of a rising republic, and as a man of learn- 
ing and science. 

In the year 1789, he returned to his native country. His 
talents and experience recommended him to President Wash- 
ington for the first office in his gift. He was accordingly 
placed at the head of the department of state, and immedia^Ij 
entered on the arduous duties of that important station. 

Soon after Mr. Jefferson entered on the duties of this office^ 
. congress directed him to prepare, and report a plan for esta- 
blishing a uniform system of currency, weights, and measures* 
Thas was followed, at a subsequent day, by reports on the 


subject of tonnage duties payable by France, and on the sub- 
ject of the cod and whale fisheries. Each of these reports 
displayed the usual accuracy, information, and intelligence of 
the writer. 

Towards the close of the year 1791, the relation of the 
United States to sereral countries abroad became embarrass- 
ing, and gave occasion to Mr. Jefferson to exercise those ta- 
lents of a diplomatic character, with which he was pre-emi- 
nently endowed. ** His correspondence with* the ministers of 
other powers residing here, and his instructions to our own di- 
plomatic agents abroad, are among our ablest state papers. A 
thorough knowledge of the laws and usages of nations, perfect 
acquaintance with the immediate subject before him, great fe« 
licity, and still greater facility, in writing, show themselves in 
whatever effort his official situation called on him^to make. It 
is believed, by competent judges, that the diplomatic inter- 
course of the government of the United States, from the first 
meeting of the continental congress in 1774 to the present time, 
taken together, would not suffer, in respect to the talent with 
which it has been conducted, by comparison with any thing • 
Which other and older states can produce ; and to the attainment 
of this respectability and distinction, Mr. Jefferson has con- 
tributed his full part." 

On the sixteenth of December, 1793, Mr. Jefferson com- 
municated his last official report to congress, on the nature 
and extent of the privileges and restrictions on the commerce 
of the United States in foreign countries, and the measures 
which he deemed important to be adopted by the United 
States, for the improvement of their commerce and navigation. 

This report, which has ever been considered as one of pri- 
mary importance, gave rise to a long and interesting discus- 
sion in the national legislature. In regard to the measures 
recommended in the report, a wide difference prevailed in 
congress, among the two great parties, into which that body 
had become obviously and permanently divided. Indeed, it 
may be said to have been this report, which finally separated 
the statesmen of the country into two great political parties, 
which have existed almost to the present time. 


On the thirty-first of December, 1793, Mr* /efierson ten- 
dered bis resignation as secretary of state, and again retired 
to private life. The interval which elapsed between his re- 
signation of the above office, and his being summoned again 
to the councils of the nation, he employed in a manner most 
delightful to himself, viz. in the education of his family, the 
management of his estate, and the pursuit of philosophical 
studies, to the latter of which, though long neglected, in his 
devotion to higher duties, he returned with renewed ardour. 

The attachment of a large proportion of his fellow-citizens» 
which Mr. Jefferson carried with him into his seclusion, did 
not allow him long to enjoy the pleasures of a private life, to 
which he appears to have been sincerely devoted. General 
Washington had for some time determined upon a relinquish- 
ment of the presidential chair, and in his farewell address, in 
the month of September, 1796, announced that intention. 
Tliis distinguished man, having thus withdrawn himself, the 
two political parties brought forward their respective candi- 
dates, Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson. On counting the votes 
in February, 1797, in the presence of both houses of con- 
gress, it was found that Mr. Adams was elected president, he 
having the highest number of votes, and Mr. Jefferson vice 
president, upon which respective, offices they entered on the 
following fourth of March. 

In the life of Mr. Adams, we had occasion to allude to the 
unsettled state of the country, and the general dissatisfiaiction 
with his administration, which prevailed. During this pe- 
riod, however, Mr. Jefferson resided chiefly at Monticello, 
pursuing the peaceful and noiseless occupations of private 
life. The time, at length, approached for a new election of 
president. Mr. Jefferson was again proposed by this republi- 
can party as a candidate for that office. The candidate of 
the federal party was Mr. Burr. 

On the eleventh of February, 1801, the votes were counted 
in the presence of both houses of congress, and the result 
declared by the vice president to be, for Thomas Jefferson 
seventy-three ; for Aaron Burr seventy-three ; John Adams 
sixty-five ; C. C. Pinckney sixty-four; and John Jay one. 

MS mmvojL bsumatiov. 

The yiee preddent theiit in pomiance of the inty enjomed 
upon him, declared that Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Borry 
iMving an equal nmnher of TOtes, it remained for the house 
of representatiTes to determine the choice. Upon this, the 
two houses separated, *' and the honse of representatives re- 
tamed to their chamber, where seats had been previously 
prepared for tlfe members of the senate. A call of the mem- 
bers of the house, arranged according to states, was then 
made; upon which it appeared that every member was pre- 
sent, except General Sumpter, who was unwell, and unable 
to attend. Mr. Nicholson, of Maryland, was also unwell, but 
attended, and had a bed prepared for him in one of the com- 
mittee rooms, to which place the ballot box was carried to 
him, by the tellers, appointed on the part of the state. 

^ The first ballot was eight states for Mr. Jefferson, six 
for Mr. Burr, and two divided ; which result continued to be 
the same after balloting thirty-fiye times.** 

Thus stood afliiirs, aAer a long and even distressing con- 
test, when a member of the house, (Greneral Smith,) conunn- 
nicated to the house the following extract of a letter from 
Mr. Burr : ** It is highly improbable that I shall haye an 
equal number of votes with Mr. Jefferson: but if such should 
be the result, every man who knows me, ought to know, 
that I would utterly disclaim all competition. Be assured 
tfiat the federal party can entertain no wish for such an 

** As to my friends, they would dishonour my views, and 
insult my feelings, by a suspicion that I would submit to be 
instrumental in counteracting the wishes and expectations of 
the United States ; and I now constitute you my proxy to 
declare these sentiments, if the occasion shall require." 

This avowal of the wishes of Mr. Burr, induced two fede 
ral members to withdraw ; in consequence of which, on the 
thirty-sixth balloting, Mr. Jefferson was elected president 
Colonel Burr, by the provision of the constitution, became, 
of course, vice president 

On the fourth of March, 1801, Mr. Jefferson, agreeable to 
the constitution, took the oath of office, in the presence of 


*DOth houses of congress, on which occasion he delivered his 
r nangural address. 

In this address, after expressing his diffidence in his powers 
satisfactorily to discharge the duties of the high and respon- 
«>ible office assigned him, he proceeded to state the principles 
oy which his administration would he governed. These 
were, *' Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state 
or persuasion, religious or political: peace, commerce, and 
Honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with 
none : the support of the state governments in all their rights, 
as the most competent administration for our domestic con- 
cerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-repuWcan ten- 
dencies : the preservation of the general government in its 
whole constitutional vigour, as the sheet anchor of our peace 
^t home, and safety abroad : a jealous care of the right of 
election by the people, a mild and safe corrective of abuses 
which are lopped by the sWord of revolution, where peacea- 
ble remedies are unprovided : absolute acquiescence in the 
decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, 
from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and 
immediate parent of despotisms : a well disciplined militia, 
our best reliance in peace, and for the first moments of wai, 
till regulars may relieve them : the supremacy of the civil 
over the military authority: economy in the public, ex- 
pense, that labour may be lightly burthened: the honest 
payment of our debts, and sacred preservation of the public 
faith : encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its 
hand-maid : the diffusion of information, and arraignment of 
all abuses at the bar of public reason : freedom of religion : 
freedom of the press : and freedom of person, under the pro- 
tection of the habeas corpus : and trial by juries impartially 
selected. — ^These principles," added Mr. Jefferson, ^' should 
be the creed of our political faith ; and should we wander 
from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to 
*>etrace our steps, and to regain the road which alone leads 
to peace, liberty, and safety.*' 

To enter into a minute detail of the administration of 
Mr Jefferson, would neither comport with the duties of a 


398 TiaoimA BSLsoATtoir. 

bio^pher, nor with the limits which must necessarilj Im 
prescribed to the present sketch. At a future day, more dis^ 
tant by far than the present, when the remembrance of poli- 
tical asperities shall have passed away, can exact justice be 
done to Mr. Jefferson and his administration. That he was 
a distinguished man, distinguished as a statesman, none can 
deny. But as the measures of his administration were called 
in question, in respect to their policy, and as the day of ex- 
citement has scarcely passed by, it is deemed more judicious 
to leaye the subject to the research and deliberation of the 
future historian, than, in this place, to attempt to settle ques- 
tions, about which there was, while he liyed, and still may 
exist, an honest difference of opinion. 

On the meeting of congress in December, 1801, Mr. Jef- 
ferson, varying from the practice of the former presidents, 
communicated a messcLge to congress, instead of delivering 
a speech in person. The chang# in this respect thus intro- 
duced was obviously so popular and acceptable, that it has 
been adopted on every subsequent similar occasion. 

The principal acts which characterized the first term of 
Mr. Jefferson's career, were, a removal from responsible and 
lucrative offices of a great portion of those whose political 
opinions were opposed to his own ; the abolition of the inter- 
nal taxes ; a reorganization of the judiciary ; an extension of 
the laws relative to naturalization ; the purchase of Louisi- 
ana, and the establishment of commercial and friendly rela- 
tions with various western tribes of indians. 

On the occurrence of a new presidential election, in 1806> 
the administration of Mr.- Jefferson had been so acceptable, 
that he was re-elected by a majority, not of eight votes, as in 
the former instance, but by one hundred and forty*eight In 
spired with new zeal by this additional proof of confidence 
which his fellow-citizens had given him, he took occasion, in 
his second inaugural address, to assert his determinatioa to 
abide by those principles upon which he had administered 
the government, and the approbation of which, on the part 
of the people, he read in their re-«lection of hiin to the same 
exalted station. In concluding his inaugural address, fte toek 

TBOKka jiri xRsoir, 909 

casion to obserre : " I do not fear that any motives of in 
tereat may lead me astray ; I am sensible of no passion which 
could seduce me knowingly from the path of justice ; but the 
^Hreaknesses of human nature, and the limits of my own un- 
derstanding, will produce errors of judgment sometimes inju- 
rious to your interests ; I shall need, therefore, all the indul- 
^nce I hate heretofore experienced; the want of it will 
certainly not lessen with increasing years. I shall need, too* 
the favour of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our 
forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and 
planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries 
and comforts of life ; who has covered our infancy with his 
providence, and our riper years with his wisdom and power.'* 
On the second election of Mr. Jefferson to the presidency, 
the vice presidency was transferred from Mr. Burr to George 
Clinton, of New- York. A merited odium had settled upon 
Mr. Burr in consequence of his unprincipled duel with Gene- 
ral Hamilton, in which the latter gentleman had fallen a vic- 
tim to murderous revenge. From this time, Mr. Burr sunk, 
as it was thought, into final obscurity ; but his future conduct 
showed, that, while unobserved by his fellow citizens, he had 
been achieving a project, which, but for the sagacity and ef- 
fective measures of Mr. Jefferson, might have led even to a 
dissolution of the union. 

In the autumn of 1806, the movements of Mr. Burr first at- 
tracted the notice of government. He had purchased and 
was building boats on the Ohio, and engaging men to descend 
diat river. His declared purpose was to form a settlement 
on the banks of the Washita, in Louisiana ; but the character 
of the man, the nature of his preparations, and the incautious 
disclosures of his associates, led to the suspicion that his true 
object was either to gain possession of New-Orleans, and to 
erect into a separate government the country watered by the 
Mississippi and its branches, or to invade, from the territories 
of the United States, the rich Spanish province of Mexico. 

From the first moment of suspicion, he was closely watch- 
ed by the agents of the government At Natchez, while on 
his way to New-Orleans, he was cited to appear before the 


too Tnoimi 9BLBAA.TIOV. 

0B|»reiiie coort of the MiflBinlppi Tenitoiy. But he lad 
enveloped his projects in secrecj, that soffident eridenee to 
connct him could not be produced, and he was discharged. 
Hearing, howerer, that seTeral persons, suspected of being- 
his accomplices, had been arrested at New-Orleans and eke 
where, he fled in disguise from Natchez, was apprehended on 
the Tombigbee, and conveyed a prisoner to Richmond. Two 
indictments were found against him, one charging him with 
treason against the United Btates, the odier with preparing^ 
and commencing an expedition against the dominions of Spain. 

In August, 1807, he was tried upon those indictments be* 
fore John Marshall, the chief justice of the United States. 
Full evidence of his guilt not being exhibited, he was acquit* 
ted by the jury. The people, however, believed him guilty ; 
and by their desertion and contempt he was reduced to a 
condition of the most abject wretchedness. The ease with 
which his plans were defeated, demonstrated the strength of 
the government ; and his fate will ever be an impressive 
warning to those who, in a free country, listen to the sugges* 
tions of criminal ambition. 

While these domestic troubles were, in a measure, agitating 
the country, questions of still greater importance were en- 
gaging the attention of the government in respect to our fo- 
reign relations. War was at this time waging between 
England and France. America, taking advantage of the bel- 
ligerent state of these kingdoms, was advantageously em- 
ploying herself, as a neutral power, in carrying from port to 
port the productions of France and her dependent kingdoms, 
and also to the ports of those kingdoms the manufactures of 

Great Britain, at this time, and indeed from the peace of 
1783, had claimed a right to search for and seize her seamen, 
even on board of neutral vessels while traversing the ocean. 
In the exercise of this pretended right, many unlawful seizures 
were made, against which Washington, Adams, and Jeffer- 
son, had successively remonstrated in vain. Added to this, 
the Americans were molested in the carrying trade, their ves- 
sels being seized by British cruisers while transporting to the 


eontinefit the prodnofs of the French colonies, and condemn- 
ed hy the English courts as lawful prizes. In May, I8O69 
^vrere issued the British orders in council, by which several 
Curopean potts, under the control of France, were declared 
to be in a state of blockade, although not invested with a Bri- 
tish fleet, and American vessels, in attempting to enter those 
ports, were captured and condemned. 

As a measure retaliatory to the above orders in council, the 
'French emperor issued a decree at Berlin, in 1806, declaring 
the British Islands in a state of blockade. In consequence of 
these measures of the two belligerents, the commerce of the 
United States severely suffered, and their merchants were 
cud in their demands on the government for redress and 


In June, 1807, an act was committed which raised the in 
dignation of the whole American people, and concentrated 
upon the British government the whole weight of popular in 
dignation. This was an attack upon the frigate Chesapeake, 
just as she was leaving her port, for a distant service, by 
order of a British admiral, in consequence of which three of 
her men were killed, and four taken away. This outrage 
occasioned an immediate proclamation on the part of Mr. 
Jefferson, requiring all British armed vessels immediately to 
depart from the waters of the United States, and forbidding 
all such to enter. Instructions were forwarded to the Ame- 
rican minister at the court of Great Britain, to demand satis- 
faction for the insult, and security against future aggression. 
Congress was summoned to meet, and to decide upon the 
farther measures which should be adopted. 

In the mean time, the British government promptly disa- 
vowed the act of the officer, by whom the above outrage had 
been committed, and offered reparation for the injuries done, 
which some time after was carried into effect. 

From this time, the conduct of the belligerents was such, 
in respect to each other, as to bear oppressively upon the 
American nation, leaving the government of the latter no 
other alternative, but abject submission, or decided retalia- 
tion In respect to the latter course, two measures only 
8F 34» 

4ni nrnmnnA bblmiatiov. 

eoold be adopted, m dedaimtion of war, or a saepennoB oC tbe 
commerce of the United States. The latter altematiTe 
adopted, and on the twentj^aecond of December, 1807, 
act passed both houses of congress, laying a general embargo. 

In respect to the policy of the embargo, the moat proani- 
nent feature in the administration of Mr. Jefierson, differena 
opinions prevaOed among the American people. 'By the ad- 
ministration, it was acknowledged to be only an experiment ; 
which, while it showed the spirit of the nation, and operated 
with no inconsiderable severity npon the interests of the bel- 
ligerents, left the way open to negociations, or, if necessary 
to actual war. 

Before the result of that system of measures which had 
been recommended by Mr. Jefferson was fully known, the 
period arrired when a new election to the presidency was to 
take place. As Mr. Jefferson had reached the age of sixty- 
fire years, forty of which had almost uninterruptedly been 
devoted to the arduous duties of public life, he was desirous, 
at the close of his then presidential term, of ending his poli- 
tical career. 

Hairing formed this determination, he alluded to it in a 
message to congress, in the following language : *^ Availing 
myself of this, the last occasion which will occur of address- 
ing the two houses of the legislature at their meeting, I can* 
not omit the expression of my sincere gratitude for the re- 
peated proofs of confidence manifested to me by themselves, 
and their predecessors, since my call to the administration, 
and the many indulgences experienced at their hands. The 
same grateful acknowledgments are due to my fellow-citizens 
generally, whose support has been my great encouragement, 
under all embarrassments. In the transactions of their busi- 
ness, I cannot have escaped error. It is incident to our im- 
perfect nature. But I may say with truth, my errors have 
been of the understanding, not of intention ; and that the ad- 
vancement of their rights and interests has been the constant 
motive of every measure. On these considerations, I solicit 
their indulgence. Looking forward with anxiety to their 
future destinies, I trust, that in their steady character, un- 

THOJf Afl 1KFFER0ON. 408 

^liaken jby difficulties, in their love of liberty, obedience to 
la^v, and support of public authorities, I see a sure guarantee 
of the permanence of our republic ; and retiring from the 
charge of their affairs, I carry with me the consolation of a 
Gxm. persuasion, that heaven^ has in store for our beloved 
country, long ages to come of prosperity and happiness." 

From the time of his retirement from public life, in 1807, 
Mr. Jefferson resided at Monticello, and lived as became a 
wise man. *' Surrounded by affectionate friends, his ardour 
in the pursuit of knowledge undiminished, with uncommon 
health, and unbroken spirits, he was able to enjoy largely 
the rational pleasures of life, and to partake in that public 
prosperity, which he had so much contributed to produce. 
His kindness and hospitality, the charm of his conversation, 
the ease of his manners, the extent of his acquirements, and 
especially the full store of revolutionary incidents which he 
possessed, and which he knew when and how to dispense, 
rendered his abode, in a high degree, attractive to his ad- 
miring countrymen, while his high public and scientific 
character drew towards him every intelligent and educated 
traveller from abroad." 

Although Mr. Jefferson had withdrawn from public life, he 
was still anxious to promote the objects of science, taste, and 
literature ; and especially solicitous to see established a uni- 
versity in his native state. To this object he devoted several 
vears of incessant and anxious attention, and by the enlight- 
ened liberality of the legislature of Virginia, and the co-ope- 
ration of other able and zealous friends, he lived to see it ac- 
complished. Of this institution, of which he was the father^ 
he was elected the rector, and, during the declining years of 
his Ufe, devoted himself, with unceasing ardour, to its perma- 
nent prosperity. 

It has often been the lot of those who have devoted 
themselves to the public service, to suffer in the decline of 
life from the hand of poverty. This was the lot bf Mr. Jef- 
ferson. His patrimony was originally large^ but was una- 
ifoidably neglected, in his attendance upon the duties of th« 
high official stations which he had filled. Partial efforts 


were made in his natiye state, and in other parts of the coun- 
try, to relieve his embarrassments ; but the precise extent of 
the measures adopted, in reference to itis subject, we have 
not the means of ascertaining. 

At lengUi, the day on whic]\ this illustrious man was to 
terminate his long and useful career, approached. That day, 
by the appointment of hearen, was to be the fourth of July, 
1626. He saw its approach with undisturbed serenity. He 
had no wish to live beyond that day. It was a day which, 
fifty years before, he had helped to make immortal. His 
wishes were answered ; and at ten minutes before one o'clock, 
on that day — ^memorable, also, for the departure of his com- 
patriot, Adams — ^Mr. Jefferson himself expired at Monticello. 
At this time he had reached the age of eighty-three years, 
two months, and twenty-one days. In stature, he was six 
feet and two inches high. His person was erect and well 
formed, though spare* The colour of his eyes was light, but 
they beamed with intelligence. 

We shall not attempt minutely to delineate the character 
of Mr. Jefferson ; this must be left to others, who may pos-^ 
sess greater facilities of doing him justice. It may be ob- 
served, however, that in his manners he was simple and un- 
affected ; at the same time possessing no inconsiderable 
share of dignity. In disposition he was uncommonly liberal 
and benevolent. ' In seasons of danger and perplexity, he 
exhibited no ordinary fortitude and strength of mind. His 
opinions were slowly formed, but yielded with great re- 
luctance. Over his passions he possessed an uncommon 

In his domestic habits, he was quite simple. He rose 
early, and through the whole day was unusually diligent in 
his application, eifiier to business or study. He was ardent- 
ly devoted to literature and science, with almost every branch 
of which he was well acquainted. Of his peculiar opinions 
on religious subjects, we are designedly silent. In respect 
to these, the best and Wisest of his countrymen have enter- 
tained very different sentiments. At a futtfre day, it will 


oe easier to decide in respect to their trae character and 

It remains to notice only one circumstance more. " In a 
private memorandum found among some other obituary pa- 
pers and relics of Mr. Jefferson, is a suggestion, in case a 
monument over him should eyer be thought of, that a granite 
obelisk, of small dimensions, should be erected, with the fol- 
lowing inscription : 



Author of the Declaration of Independence^ 

Of the Statutes of Virginia, for Relig-ious Freedom, 

And Father of the University of Virg^inia." 


Benjamin Harrison was the descendant of a family long 
distinguished in the history of Virginia. Both his father and 
grandfather bore the name of Benjamin, and lived at Berkeley, 
where they owned, and where the family still owns, a scat, 
beautifully situated on the banks of the James River, in full 
view of City Point, the seaport of Petersburg and Richmond 

The father of Mr. Harrison married the eldest daughter ol 
Mr. Carter, the king's surveyor general, by whom he had six 
sons and four daughters. Two of the latter, with himself, 
were, at the same time, during the occurrence of a thunder 
storm, killed by lightning in the mansion house at Berkeley. 

The subject of the present memoir was the eldest son of 
the preceding, but the date of his birth has not been satisfac- 
torily ascertained. He was a student in the college of Wil- 
liam and Mary at the time of his father's death ; but, in con- 
sequence of a misunderstanding with an officer of the college, 
he left it before the regular period of graduation, and returned 

40t TIBflIllI4 DXLB0AT1O1& 

The management of his fother^s estate now deyolyed upon 
him ; and though young to be entrusted with a charge so im- 
portant, and involving responsibilities so weighty, he dis- 
played an wmsnal share of pmdence and judgment. 

His ancestors having long been distinguished as political 
leaders in the province, he was summoned at an early date^ 
even before he had attained to the age required by law, to 
sustain the reputation which they had acquired. He com- 
menced his political career as a member of the legislature, 
about the year 1764, a station which he may be said to have 
held through life, since he was always elected to a seat, 
whenever his other political employments admitted of his oc- 
cupying it. As a member of the provincial assembly, Mr. 
Harrison soon became conspicuous. To strong good sense 
he united great firmness and decision of character. Besides, 
his fortune being ample, and his connexions by marriage 
highly respectable, he was naturally marked out as a politi- 
cal leader, in whom general confidence might well be re- 

The royal government, aware of his influence and respect- 
ability, was, at an early day, anxious to enlist him in its fa- 
vour, and accordingly proposed to create him a member <^ 
the executive council in Virginia, a station corresponding to 
the privy council in England, and one which few would hare 
had the firmness to have declined. 

Mr. Harrison, however, though a young man, was not to 
be seduced from the path of duty by the rank and influence 
conferred by office. Even at this time, the measures of the 
British ministry, although not as oppressive as at a later day^ 
were such as neither he nor the patriotic burgesses of Virgi- 
nia could approve. In opposition to the royal cause, he iden- 
tified himself with the people, whose rights and liberties he 
pursued with an ardour which characterized most of the pa- 
triots of the revolution. 

Passing over the following ten years of Mr. Harrison's life, 
in which few incidents either of a private or political nature 
are recorded of him, we arrive at the year 1774, the era of 

BsariAiinr mjLvtoMom* iOt 

tlie memorable c<m£re8S whicli laid the foimdad<m of Ameri- 
isan liberty, of whioh body Mr. narrison wat a member. 

From this period until the close of 1777, daring nearly 
every session of congress, Mr. Harrison represented his na* 
live state in that distingnished assembly. Our /limits forbid 
us entering into a minute detail of the important services 
'srhich he rendered his country during his career in the na» 
tional legislature. As a member of the board of war, and as 
chairman of that board, an office which he retained until he 
left congress, he particularly distinguished himself. Accord- 
ing to the testimony of a gentleman who was contemporary 
ndth him in congress, he was characterized for great firmness, 
good sense, and a peculiar sagacity in difficult and critical 
situations. In seasons of uncommon trial and anxiety, Ite 
was always steady, cheerful, and undaunted. 

Mr. Harrison was also often called to preside as chairman 
of the committee of the whole house, in which station he was 
extremely popular. He occupied the chair during the deli- 
berations of congress on the despatches of Washington, the 
settlement of commercial restrictions, the state of the colo- 
nies, the regulation of trade, and during the pendency of the 
momentous question of our national independence. By his 
correctness and impartiality, during the warm and animated 
debates which were had on questions growing out of these 
important subjects, he gained the general confidence and ap- 
probation of the house. 

An interesting anecdote is related of him, on the occasion 
of the members affixing their signatures to the declaration of 
independence. While signing the instrument, he noticed 
Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts standing beside him. Mr. Har- 
rison himself was quite corpulent ; Mr. Gerry was slender 
and spare. As the former raised his hand, having inscribed 
his name on the roll, he turned to Mr. Gerry, and facetiously 
observed, that when the time of hanging should come, he 
should have the advantage over him. ** It will be over with 
me," said he, *' in a minute, but you will be kicking in the air 
Mf an hour after I am gone." 

Towards the close of the year 1777, Mr. Harrison resigned 

his sett in congress, and returned to Virginis. He was soon 
after elected a member of the hoase of burgesses, of which 
body he was immediately chosen speaker, a station which he 
held until the year 1782. 

In this latter year, Mr. Harrison was elected to the office 
of chief magistrate of Virginia, and became one of the mosc 
popular goTemors of his native state. To this office he was 
twice re«elected. In 1785, haying become ineligible by the 
provisions of the constitution, he returned to private life, carry- 
ing with him the universal esteem and approbation of his 
fellow citizens. 

In 1788, when the new constitution of the United States 
was submitted to Virginia, he was returned a member of her 
convention. Of the first committee chosen by that body, that 
of privileges and elections, he was appointed chairman. 
Owing, however, to his advanced years, and to infirmities 
which were now coming in upon him, he took no very active 
part in the debates of the convention. He was a friend, 
however, to the constitution, provided certain amendments 
could be made to it, and opposed its ratification until these 
should be incorporated with it. When the question was 
taken in the convention as to its unconditional ratification, 
the majority in the afiirmative was but ten. A minority so 
respectable in point of number and character was not to be 
slighted. Hence, the convention appointed a committee to 
prepare and report such* amendments as they should deem 
necessary. Of this committee Mr« Harrison was a member, 
and, in connexion with bis colleagues, introduced such a se- 
ries of amendments as were thought advisable, and which, 
after passing the convention, formed the basis of the altera- 
tions which were subsequently made. 

In 1790, Mr. Harrison was again proposed as a candidate 
to the executive chair. Finding, however, that if run it must 
be in opposition to Mr. Beverley Randolph, who was at that 
time governor, a gentleman distinguished for his great amia* 
bleness of character, and a particular and intimate friend of 
Governor Harrison, the latter declined thd designed honour* 


in consequence of which, Mr. Randolph was elected, but by 
only a majority of two or three votes. 

In the spring of 1791, Mr. Harrison was attacked by a se- 
rere fit of the gout, of which however he partially recovered. 
In the month of April, he was elected a member of the legis- 
lature. On the evening of the day after, however, a recur* 
rence of his disease took place, which on the following day 
terminated his life. 

In his person, Mr. Harrison was above the ordinary height; 
ne possessed a vigorous constitution, and in his manners was 
remarkably dignified. Owing to the free manner in which he 
fived, he, at length, became quite corpulent ; his features 
were less handsome, and the vigour of his constitution was 
much impaired. 

Those who recollect him represent his talents as rather 
useful than brilliant. He seldom entered into public discus- 
sions, nor was he fond of writing; yet when occasion required, 
he appeared with respectability in both. 

Mr. Harrison became connected by marriage with Eliza* 
beth Bassett, daughter of Colonel William Bassett, of the 
county of New Kent, a niece to the sister of Mrs. Washing- 
ton. He had m"ny children, seven of whom only attained to 
any number of years. Several of his sons became men of 
considerable distinction, but no one has occupied so conspicu- 
ous a place in society as his third son, William Henry Harri- 
son. While young, this gentleman distinguished himself in 
a battle with the Indians at the rapids of Miami ; since which 
time, he has filled the office of governor of Indiana Territory 
served as a high military officer on the north-western fron- 
tier, been sent as a delegate from the state of Ohio in con* 
gress, and more recently been appointed to the important 
office of minister plenipotentiary to Mexico. 
30 35 

410 TimoimA bblboatioit 


Thomas Nelson was born at York on the twenty-sixth of 
December, 1738. He was the eldest son of Wiltiam Nebon» 
a merchant of highly respectable character, who was de- 
scended from an English family, which settled at York, in 
the province of Virginia. By his prudence and industry, the 
latter acquired a large fortune. After the meridian of life, he 
held several offices of high distinction ; and at his death, which 
occurred a few years before the revolution, left a character, 
not only sullied by no stain, but justly venerated for the many 
virtues which adorned it. 

At the age of fourteen, Thomas Nelson was sent to Eng- 
land, for the purpose of acquiring an education. He was for 
some time placed at a private school, in a village in the neigh- 
bourhood of London ; whence he was removed to the uni- 
versity of Cambridge, where he enjoyed the instruction of 
that distinguished man, Doctor Beilby Porteus, afterwards 
bishop of London. Under the guidance of this excellent 
man and accomplished scholar, young Nelson became deeply 
imbued with a taste for literary pursuits. 

About the close of 1761, he returned to his native coun- 
try, and in the following year became connected by marriage 
with a daughter of Philip Grymes, Esq. of Brandon, with 
whom he settled at York. The ample fortune given him by 
his father, at the time of his marriage, enabled him to main* 
tain a style of no common elegance and hospitality. 

At what period Mr. Nelson commenced his political careei, 
we have not been able to ascertain. He was, however, a 
member of the house of* bnrgesses in 1774, and during the 
same year was appointed to the £rst general convention, 
which met at Williamsburg on the first of August. The next 
year, 1775, he was a second time returned a member to the 
general convention of the province, during the session of 
which, he introduced a resolution for organizing a military 
force in the province, a step which obviously placed the co- 
lony of Virginia in the attitude of opposition to the mother 

oountry. This plan was at first startling to some of the 
'warmest friends of liberty ; but in the issue, it proved a mea- 
sure of high importance to the colonies. 

In July, 1775, the third convention of Virginia delegates 

assembled at Richmond, and in the following month Mr. Nel- 
son was appointed a delegate to represent the colony in the 
continental congress, which was to assemble at Philadelphia. 
Agreeably to this appointment, he took his seat in that body 
on the thirteenth of September.^ 

From this time, until May, 1T77, Mr. Nelson continued to 
represent the colony of Virginia in the national council^ where 
he was frequently appointed on important committees, and 
was highly distinguished for his sound judgment and liberal 
sentiments. In the month of May, of the year mentioned 
above, while attending in his place in congress, he was sud- 
denly attacked with a disease of the head, probably of a para- 
lytic nature, which, for a time, greatly impaired his mental 
faculties, particularly his memory. 

He now returned to Virginia, soon after which he resigned 
his seat in congress. His health gradually returning, his ser- 
vices were again demanded by the public, and by the governor 
and council he was appointed brigadier general and com- 
mander in chief of the forces of the commonwealth. In this 
office he rendered the most important services to his country 
in general, and to the colony of Virginia in particular. His 
ample fortune enabled him, in cases of emergency, to advance 
money to carry forward the military operations of the day, 
nor did the generosity of his nature allow him to witlihold 
his hand whenever occasion demanded advancements. 

In 1779, the health of Mr. Nelson being, as it was thought, 
confirmed, he was induced again to accept a seat in congress. 
The arduous duties, however, to which he was called, con- 
nected with the long confinement which those duties required, 
induced a recurrence of his former complaint, which com- 
pelled him again to return home. 

Happily for his country, his health was again restored, and 
he entered with great animation into several military expedi 
tions against'the British, who, at that time, were making the 



southern states the chief theatre of war. In 1781, Mr. Jef« 
ferson, who had for three years filled the executive chair, left 
it, upon which General Nelson was called to succeed him. 
This was a gloomy period in the annals of Virginia. In re- 
peated instances the state was invaded, and the path of the 
enemy marked ^y wanton and excessive barbarity. The le- 
gislature were several times interrupted^in their deliberations, 
and repeatedly obliged to adjourn to a different and more re 
tired place. Immediately following the accession of Mr. Nel- 
son to the executive chair, they were driven, as was noticed 
in the life of Mr. Jefferson, by Tarlton, from Charlottesville 
to Staunton. 

At this time they passed a law, *' by which the governor, 
with the advice of the council, was empowered to procure. 
by impress or otherwise, under such regulations as they 
should devise, provisions of every kind, all sorts of clothing, 
accoutrements and furniture proper for the use of the army, 
negroes as pioneers, horses both for draught and cavalry, 
wagons, boats, and other vessels, with their crews, and all 
other things which might be necessary for supplying the 
militia, or other troops, employed in the public service." 

According to this law, Mr. Nelson could not constitution* 
ally act, except with the advice of his council. Owing to 
the capture of two of the council by Tarlton, and to the 
resignation of two' others, that body was reduced to four 
Siembers, the least number which agreeably to the constitu- 
tion could act. Even this number, in the distracted state of 
iie country, it was difiicult and nearly impossible to keep 
kOge ther. 

Thus circumstanced. Governor Nelson determined, at the 
risk of public censure, to take those measures which the 
safety of the state and the good of the country demanded. 
These measures were taken ; and though departing from the 
strict line of duty as defined by the laws of the common- 
wealth, it was owing to his prompt and independent course 
that the army was kept together until the battle of Yorktown 
gave the finishing stroke to the war. 

Soon after the occurrence of that memorable and glorious 

TBOM48 KBIiSOV, J0lf. 4(3 

event, Gorernor Nelson had the pleasure of receiving a jnst 
expression of thanks from General Washington, who, in his 
general orders of the 20th of October, 1781, thus spoke of 
him : ** The general would be guilty of the highest ingrati* 
tude, a crime of which he hopes he shall nerer be accused, 
if he forgot to return his sincere acknowledgments to his 
excellency Gorernor Nelson, for the succours which he re- 
ceived from him, and the militia under his command, to 
whose activity, emulation, and bravery, the highest praises 
are due. The magnitude of the acquisition will be ample 
compensation for the difficulties and dangers which they 
met with so much firmness and patriotism." 

At the expiration of a month, following the surrender of 
Lord Cornwallis, Governor Nelson finding his health im- 
paired by the arduous duties to which he had been called, 
tendered his resignation as chief magistrate of Virginia. 

The many services which he had rendered, the great self*- 
4 denial which he had practised, the uncommon liberality 
which he had manifested, entitled him to the gratitude of the 
people, and to the unmolested enjoyment of the few years 
* which remained to him. ^ut scarcely had his resigna- 
tion been accepted, when an accusation was laid before the 
legislature by his enemies, charging him with having tran- 
scended his powers in acting without the consent of his 

Soon after the presentment of this accusation. Governor 
Nelson addressed a letter to the legislature, requesting an in* 
vestigation of his official conduct. In compliance with this 
request, a committee was appointed for that purpose, who, 
at length, having reported, the legislature, on the 31st of 
December, 1781, passed the following act : 
p ^* Afk act to indemnify Thomas Nelson, Junior, Esquire, 
late governor of this commonwealth, and to legalise certain 
acts of his administration. Whereas, upon examination it 
appears that previous to, and during the seige of York, 
Thomas Nelson, Esquire, late governor of this common- 
wealth, was compelled by the peculiar circumstances of the 
state and army, to perform many acts of government without 


414 TIBOIiriA DBLS«ATI01f. 

the adriee of the couocil of statet for the purpose of pro- 
curing f ubcistence and other necessaries for the allied army 
under the command of his excellency General Washington : 
be it enacted, that all such acts of goyemment, evidently 
productive of general good, and warranted by necessity, be 
judged and hel<i of the same validity, and the like proceed 
ings be had on them, as if they had been executed by and 
with the advice of the council, and with all the formalities 
prescribed by law. And be it further enacted, that the said 
Thomas Nelson, Jun. Esq. be, and hereby is, in the fullest 
manner, indemnified and exonerated from all penalties and 
dangers which might have accrued to him from the same.'* 

Having thus been honourably acquitted of charges from 
which his noble and patriotic conduct ought to have saved 
him, he now retired irholly from public life. His death oe* 
curred on the 4th of January, 1789, just aAer he had com- 
pleted his fiftieth year. Few patriots of the revolution have 
descended to the grave more justly honoured and beloved. • 
Few possessed a more ample fortune ; few, contributed more 
liberally to support the cause of liberty. It was the patriot- 
ism, the firmness, the generosit}^, the magnanimous sacrifices 
of such men, that conducted the colonies through a gloomy 
contest of seven years continuance, and gave them a rank 
among the independent nations of the earth. 

We shall conclude this notice of this illustrious man, by 
presenting to our readers the tribute, which ^as happily and 
affectionately paid to his memory by Colonel Innes : 

*'*' The illustrious General Thomas Nelson is no more ! 
He paid the last great debt to nature, on Sunday, the fourth 
of the present month, at his estate in Hanover. He who 
undertakes barely to recite the exalted virtues which adorned 
the life of this great and good man, will unavoidably pro- * 
nounce a panegyric on human nature, ^s a man, a citizen, 
a legislator, and a patriot, he exhibited a conduct untarnished 
and undebased by sordid or selfish interest, and strongly 
marked with the genuine characteristics of true religion, 
sound benevolence, and liberal policy. Entertaining the 
most ardent love for civil and religious liberty, he was 


among the first of that glorious band of patriots whose ex- 
ertions dashed and defeated the machinations of British 
tyranny, and gave United America freedom and independent 
empire. At a most important crisis, during the late struggle 
for American liberty, when this state appeared to be desig- 
nated as the theatre of action for the contending armies, he 
was selected by the unanimous suffrage of the legislature to 
command the virtuous yeomanry of his country ; in this 
honourable employment he remained until the end of the 
war ; as a sohlier, he was indefatigably active and coolly in- 
trepid ; resolute and undejected in misfortunes, he towered 
above distress, and struggled with the manifold difBculties to 
which his situation exposed him, with constancy and courage. 
In the memorable year 1781, when the whole force of the 
southern British army was directed to the immediate subju- 
gation of this state, he was called to the helm of govern- 
ment; this was a juncture which indeed * tried men's souls.' 
He did not avail himself of this opportunity to retire in the 
rear of danger ; but on the contrary, took the field at the 
head of his countrymen ; and at the hazard of his life, his 
fame, and individual fortune, by his decision and magna- 
nimity, he saved not only his country, but all America, from 
disgrace, if not from total ruin. Of this truly patriotic and 
heroic conduct, the renowned commander in chief, with all 
the gallant officers of the combined armies employed at the 
siege of York, will bear ample testimony ; this part of his 
conduct even contemporary jealousy, envy, and malignity 
were forced to approve, and this, more impartial posterity, 
if it can believe, will almost adore. If, after contemplating 
the splendid and heroic parts of his character, we shall in- 
quire for the milder virtues of humanity, and seek for the 
man, we shall find the refined, beneficent, and social qualities 
of private life, through all its forms and combinations, so 
happily modified and united in him, that in the words of the 
darling poet of nature, it may be said, 

<HiB life wa4S gentle : and the elements 

So mixed in him, that nature might stand up 

And say to all the world — ^this was a man.* " 

ttO TBMIOA DBUt04VI01l« 


Fr&ncu Liohtfoot Lbs, the fourth son of Thomas Ijce, 
was bom on the fourteenth day of Oetober, 1734. His father 
for several years held the office of president of the king's 
council of the provincial goyemment of Virginia. He had 
several sons, all of whom were highly distinguished for their 
talents, and for the services which they rendered their cocid* 
try. Philip Ludwell, a member of the king's council ; Tho- 
mas Ludwell, a member of the Virginia assembly; Richard 
Henry, as the champion of American freedom ; William, as a 
sheriff and alderman of London, and afterwards a commis- 
sioner of the continental congress at th^ courts of Berlin and 
Vienna ; and Arthur as a scholar, a politician, and diplomatist. 

Francis Lightfoot, the subject of the present memoir, was 
perhaps not less distinguished, although he had not the ad- 
vantages, which were enjoyed by the elder sons, of an educa- 
tion at the English universities. His advantages, however, 
were not of a moderate character. He was placed under the 
care of a domestic tutor of the name of Craig, a gentleman 
distinguished for his. love of letters, and for his ability to im- 
part useful knowledge to those of whom he had the care. Un- 
der such a man, the powers of Francis Lightfoot rapidly un- 
folded. He acquired an early fondness for reading and men 
tal investigation, and became well acquainted with the vari 
ous branches of science and literature. 

The fortune bequeathed him by his father rendered the 
study of a profession unnecessary. He, therefore, devoted 
himself for several years to reading, and to the enjoyment of his 
friends. He was a man, however, in whom dwelt the spirit 
of the patriot, and who could not well be neglected, nor could 
he well neglect his country, when the political troubles of the 
colonies began. 

In 1765, he was returned a member of the house of bur- 
gesses from the county of Loudon, where his estate was si- 
tuated. In this situation, he proved himself to be a gentleman 
of strong good sense and discriminating judgment ; and to this 


office he was annually re-elected until 1772 ;Vhen having be- 
come connected by marriage with a daughter of Colonel John 
Tayloe, of the county of Richmond, he removed to that coun- 
ty, the citizens of which soon after elected him a member ol 
the house of burgesses. 

In 1775, Mr. Lee was chosen a member of the continental 
congress, by the Yirgiiiia convention. This was an eventful 
period in the annals of America. It was the year in which 
'was shed the first blood in the revolutionary struggle. It 
was emphatically the year of '* clouds and darkness,*^ in which 
indeed the hope of better days was indulged, but in which, 
notwithstanding this hope, "men's souls were tried." 

Mr. Lee continued a member of congress until the spring 
of 1779. During his attendance upon this body, he seldom 
took part in the public discussions, but few surpassed him in 
his warmth of patriotism, and in his zeal to urge forward those 
measures which contributed to the success of the American 
arms, and the independence of the country. To his brother, 
Richard Henry Lee, the high honour was allotted of bringing 
forward the momentous question of independence, and to him, 
and his associates in that distinguished assembly, the not in- 
ferior honour was granted of aiding and supporting and 
finishing this important work. 

As already noticed, Mr. Lee retired from congress in the 
year 1779. It was his wish to be exempted from public care, 
and in Che pleasures of home to seek those enjoyments which 
were consentaneous to his health and happiness. 

This seclusion, however, he was not permitted long to en- 
joy. The internal condition of Virginia, at this time, was 
one of much agitation and perplexity. His fellow citizens, 
justly appreciating the value of such a man, summoned him 
by their suffrages to represent them in the legislature of Vir- 
ginia. Although reluctantly, he obeyed the summons, and 
took his seat in that body. He was fond of ease, and of the 
pleasures of domestic life ; still he was conscious of his obli- 
gations, and most faithfully discharged them. While a mem- 
ber of the continental congress, he had been characterized for 
3 H 

41ft mOIHlA BS1.SCIAT10M. 

integrity, sound judgment, and love of conntiy. In his pre 
lent office, he was dit tinguished for the same virtues. 

He could not content himself, however, long in this sitna 
tion. He became wearied with the duties of public life ; and, 
at length, relinquished them for the pleasures of retirement 

In this latter course of life, he not only enjoyed himself 
highly, but contributed greatly to the happiness of many 
around him. The benevolence of his disposition, and the 
urbanity of his fanners, recommended him both to the old 
and the young, to the gay and the grave. The poor shared 
in his benevolence and advice. In his intercourse with 
his particular Mends, he was uncommonly pleasing and in* 

Mr. Lee, having no children to require his care and atten- 
tion, devoted much of his time to the pleasures of reading, 
Arming, and the company of his friends. His death was oc- 
casioned by a pleurisy, which disease about the same time, 
also, attacked his beloved wife, and terminated the life of both, 
within a few days of eafh other. It is said, that he had em- 
braced the religion of the gospel, and that under its support- 
ing hope and consolation, he made his exit in peace from 
the world. 


Carter Braxton was the son of George Braxton, a 
wealthy planter of Newington, in the county of King and 
Queen, in Virginia, where he was bom on the tenth of Sep- 
tember, 1736. His mother was the daughter of Robert Car- 
ter, who was for some time a member, and the president of 
the king's council. 

Carter Braxton was liberally educated, at the college of Wil» 
liam and Mary. About the time that he left college, it ig 
supposed that his father died, although this is not well ascer- 


tallied. On this event, he became passessed af a considerable 
fortune, consisting chiefly of land and slaves. His estate was 
much increased, by his marriage, at the early age of nineteen 
years, with the daughter of Mr. Christopher Robinson, a 
wealthy planter of the county of Middlesex. 

He had the misfortune to lose his wife within a few years 
of his marriage, soon after which he embarked for England, 
for the purpose of improving his mind and manners. He re- 
turned to America in 1760 ; and, in the following year, was 
married to the eldest daughter of Richard Corbin, of Lanne- 
ville, by whom he had sixteen children. The life of Mrs* 
Braxton was continued until the year 1814. Of her numer- 
ous children, one only, a daughter, it is believed, is still living. 

The ample fortune of Mr. Braxton rendering the study of 
a profession unnecessary, he became a gentleman planter. 
He lived in considerable splendour, according to the fashion 
of the landed aristocracy at that day. Yet, it is said, that 
bis fortune was not impaired by it. 

Upon his return from a voyage to England, he was called 
to a seat in the house of burgesses ; and in 1765^ particu- 
larly distinguished himself at the time that Patrick Henry 
brought forward his celebrated resolutions on the stamp act. 

From this date, until 1776, the political career of M» 
Braxton corresponded, in genera], with that of the -other 
delegates from Virginia, of whom we have given a more par 
ticular and circumstantial account. It will be unnecessary 
therefore, to observe in this place more than that Mr. Brax 
ton was, during this period, for the most part, a member of 
the house of burgesses, and a member of the first convention 
which ever met in Virginia. Nor is it necessary to speak 
particularly of the patriotic zeal and firmness which charac- 
terized him, in all the duties which he was called upon to 
discharge. • 

On the twenty-second of October, 177B, the distinguisfaea 
Peyton Randolph died at Philadelphia, while presiding over 
congress. In the following month, the convention of Vir- 
ginia proceeded to appoint his successor, upon which Mr. 
Braxton was elected. In that body he soon after tooh lia 


tW TnwniiA mujMATioK. 

•eat, and was present on the oecasion which gave hirdi to 
the decUration of independence. 

In Jane. 1770, the convention of l^rginia reduced the 
number of their delegates in congress to fire, any three of 
whom, it was directed, shonld be sufficient. In consequence 
of this resolution, Mr. Harrison and Mr. Braxton were 

In the month of October, 1776, the first general assembly 
under the republican constitution, assembled at Williamsbnrg. 
Of this assembly Mr. Braxton was a member, and soon after 
taking his seat, he had the pleasure of receiving, in connexion 
with Thomas Jefferson, an expression of the public thanks in 
the following language : 

^ Saturday, October 12A, 1776. 
** Resolved, unaniToouslyf that the thanks of this house are 
justly due to Thomas Jefferson and Carter Braxton, Esquires, 
for the diligence, ability, and integrity, with which they exe- 
cuted the important trust reposed in them, as two of the dele- 
gates for this county in the general congress." 


Of the above first session of the legislature of Virginia, 
Mr. Braxton was an active member. This session, as might 
be supposed, was interesting and important, from the circum- 
stance that being the first, it was called upon to accommodate 
the government to the great change which the people had 
undergone in their political condition. From this time, he 
continued to be a delegate in the house for several years, 
where he proved himself to be faithful to his constituents, 
and a zealous advocate for civil and religious liberty. 

In 1786, he received an appointment as a member of the 
council of state of the commonwealth, which office he con- 
tinued to execute until the thirtieth of March, 1791. After 
an interval of a few years, during which he occupied a seat 
in the house of delegates, he was again elected into the exe- 
cutive council, where he continued until October, 1797, on 
the tenth of which month he was removed to another world, 
by means of an attack of paralysis. 


Mr. Braxton was a gentleman of cultivated mind", and re- 
spectable talents. Although not distinguished by the im- 
pressive eloquence of Henry and Lee, his oratory was easy 
find flowing. In his manners, he was peculiarly agreeable, 
and the language of his conversation and eloquence was 
smooth and flowing. ' 

The latter days of Mr. Braxton were embittered by several 
unfortunate con^mercial speculations, which involved him in 
pecuniary embarrassments, from which he found it impossible 
to extricate himself. Several vexatious law-suits, in which 
he became engaged, contributed still farther to diminish his 
property, and unfortunately led him unintentionally to injure 
several of his friends, who were his sureties. The morning 
of his days was indeed bright ; but, like many a morning 
which appears in the natural world'without clouds, his was 
followed, towards the close of the day, by clouds and dark- 
ness, under which he sunk, imparting an impressive lesson of 
the passing nature of the form and fashion of the present 





Joseph Hswsb, 
John Pbnn. 


William Hooper was a naiiTe of Boston, province of 
Massachusetts Bay, where he was born on the seventeenth 
of June, 1742. 

His father's name was also William Hooper. He was 
bom in Scotland, in the year 1702, and soon after leaving the 
university of Edinburgh emigrated to America. He settled in 
Boston, where he became connected in marriage with the 
daughter of Mr. John Dennie, a respectable merchant Not 
long after his emigration, he was elected pastor of Trinity 
Church, in Boston, in which office, such were his fidelity and 
affectionate intercourse with the people of his charge, that 
long after his death he was remembered by them with pecu- 
liar veneration and regard. 

William Hooper, a biographical notice of whom we are 

now to give, was the eldest of five children. At an early age 

he exhibited indications of considerable talent. Until he was 

seven years old, he was instructed by his father; but, at 

^ngth, became a member of a free grammar school in BostoiH 

WlttlAM BOOPfiB. 433 

"wliich at that time was under the care of Mr. John LovelU a 
teacher of distinguished eminence. At the age of fifteen, he 
entered Harvard university, where he acquired the reputation 
of a good classical scholar ; and, at length, in 1760, com- 
menced bachelor of arts, with distinguished honour. 

Mr. Hooper had destined his son for the ministerial office. 
But his inclination turning towards the law, he obtained his 
father's consent to pursue the studies of tliat profession, in 
the office of the celebrated James Otis. On being qualified 
for the bar, he left the province of Massachusetts, with the 
design of pursuing the practice of his profession in North 
Carolina. After spending a year or two in that province, his 
father became es^ceedingly desirous that he should return 
home. The health of his son had greatly suffered, in conse- 
quence of an excessive application to the duties of his profes- 
sion. In addition to this, the free manner of living, generally 
adopted by the wealthier inhabitants of the south, and in which 
he had probably participated, had not a little contributed to 
the injury of his health. 

Notwithstanding the wishes of his father, in regard to his 
favourite son, the latter, at length, in the fall of 1767, &xed 
his residence permanently in North Carolina, and became 
connected by marriage with Miss Ann Clark, of Wilmington, 
in that province. 

Mr. Hooper now devoted himself with great zeal to his 
professional duties. He early enjoyed the confidence of his 
fellow citizens, and was highly respected by his brethren at 
the bar, among whom he occupied an enviable rank. 

In the year 1773, he was appointed to repiesent the town 
of Wilmington, in which he resided, in the general assembly. 
In the following year he was elected to a seat in the same 
body, soon after taking which, he was called upon to assist 
in opposing a most tyrannical act of the British government, 
in respect to the laws regulating the courts of justice in the 

The former laws in relation to these courts being aboat to 
expire, others became necessary. Accordingly, a bill was 
brought forwardy the provisions of which were designed to 


reg;nlate the courts as fonnerly. Bat the advocates of the 
British government took occasion to introduce a clause into 
the hill, which was intended to exempt from attachment all 
species of property in North Carolina, which belonged to 
non-residents. This bill having passed the senate* and been 
approved of by the governor, was sent to the house of repre- 
sentatives, where it met with a most spirited opposition. In 
this opposition Mr. Hooper took the lead. In strong and 
animated language, he set forth the injustice of this part of 
the bill, and remonstrated against its passage by the house, 
tn consequence of the measures which were pursued by the 
respective hoiues composing the general assembly, the pro- 
vince was left for more than a year without a single court of 
law. Personally to Mr. Hooper, the issue of this business 
was highly injurious, since he was thus deprived of the prac- 
tice of his profession, upon which he depended for his sup- 
port Conscious, however, of having discharged his .duty, 
he bowed in submission to the pecuniary sacrifices to which 
he was thus called, preferring honourable poverty to the 
greatest pecuniary acquisitions, if the latter must he made at 
die expense of principle* 

On the twenty-fifth of August, 1774, Mr. Hooper was elect- 
ed a delegate to the general congress, to be held at Philadel- 
phia. Soon after taking his seat in this body, he was placed 
upon several important committees, and when occasion re- 
quired, took a share in the animated discussions, which were 
had on the various important subjects which came before 
them. On one occasion, and the first on which he addressed 
the house, it is said, that he so entirely rivetted the attention 
of the members by his bold and animated language, that many 
expressed their wonder that such eloquence should flow forth 
from a member from North Carolina. 

In the following year, Mr. Hooper was again appointed a 
delegate to serve in the second general congress, during whose 
session he was selected as the chairman of a committee ap- 
pointed to report an address to the inhabitants of Jamaica. 
The draught was the production of his pen. It was charac- 
terized for great boldness, 'and was eminently adapted to pro- 


Auce a strong impresaion upon the people for whom it was 
designed. In conclusion of the address, Mr. Hooper used 
the following bold and animated langiiage : 

*' That our petitions have been treated with disdain, is now 
become the smallest part of our complaint : ministerial inso- 
lence is lost in ministerial barbarity. It has, by an exertion 
peculiarly ingenious, procured those very measures, which it 
laid us under the hard necessity of pursmng, to be stigma- 
tized in parliament as rebellious : it has employed additional 
deets and armies for the infamous purpose of compelling us 
to abandon them : it has plunged us in all the horrors and ca- 
lamities of a civil war : it has caused the treasure and blood 
of Britons (formerly shed and expended for far other ends) to 
be spilt and wasted in the execrable design of spreading 
slavery over British America : it will not, however, accom- 
plish its aim ; in the worst of contingencies, a choice will still 
be lef^, which it never can prevent us from making." 

In January, 1776^ Mr. Hooper was appointed, with Dr. 
Franklin and Mr. Livingston, a committee to report to con- 
gress a proper method of honouring the memory of General 
Montgomery, who had then recently fallen beneath the walls 
of Quebec. This committee, in their report, recommended 
the erection of a monument, which, while it expressed the re- 
spect and affection of the colonies, might record, for the be- 
nefit of future ages, the patriotic zeal and fidelity, enterprise 
and perseverance of the hero, whose memory the monument 
was designed to celebrate. In compliance with the recom- 
mendation of this committee, a monument was afterwards 
erected by congress in the city of New-York. 

In the spring, 1776, the private business of Mr. Hooper so 
greatly required his attention in North Carolina, that he did 
not attend upon the sitting of congress. He returned, how- 
ever, in season to share in the honour of passing and pub- 
lishing to the world the immortal declaration of independence. 

On the twentieth of December, 1776, he was elected a de- 
legate to congress for the third time. The embarrassed situ- 
ation of his private affairs, however, rendered his longer ab- 
ence from Carolina inconsistent with his interests. Accord 
31 36* 


ingly* in February, 1777, he relinquUhed his seat in con« 
gress, and not long after tendered to the general assembly his 
resignation of the important trust 

But, although he found it necessary to retire from this par- 
ticular sphere of action, he was nevertheless usefully employed 
in Carolina. He was an ardent friend to his country, zeal 
ously attached to her rights, and ready to make every required 
personal sacrifice for her good. Nor like many other patriots 
of the day, did he allow himself to indulge in despondency. 
While to others the prospect appeared dubious, he would al- 
ways point to some brighter spots on the canvass, and upon 
these he delighted to dwell. 

In 1766, Mr. Hooper was appointed by congress one of the 
judges of a federal court, which was formed for the purpose 
of settling a controversy which existed between the states of 
New-York and Massachusetts, in regard to certain lands, the 
jurisdiction of which each pretended to claim. The point at 
issue was of great importance, not only as it related to a con- 
siderable extent of territory, but in respect of the people of 
these two states, among whom great excitement prevailed on 
the subject Fortunately, the respective parties themselves 
appointed commissioners to settle the dispute, which was, at 
length, amicably done, and the above federal court were saved 
a most difficult and delicate duty. 

In the following year, the constitutional infirmities of Mr. 
Hooper increasing, his health became considerably impaired. 
He now gradually relaxed from public and professional exer- 
tions, and in a short time sought repose in retirement, which 
he greatly coveted. In the month of October, 1790, at the 
early age of forty-eight years, he was called to exchange 
worlds. He left a widow, two sons, and a daughter, the last 
of whom only, it is believed, still lives. 

In his person, Mr. Hooper was of middle stature, well 
formed, but of delicate and slender appearance. He carried 
a pleasing and intelligent countenance. In his manners he 
was polite and engaging, although towards those with whom 
he was not particularly acquainted, he was somewhat re* 
served. He was distinguished for his powers of conversa- 


tion ; in point of literary merit he had but few rirals in the 
neighbourhood in which he dwelt 

As a lawyer, he was distinguished for his professional 
knowledge, and indefatigable zeal in respect to business with 
^ehich he was entrusted. Towards his brethren he ever 
maintained a high and honourable course of conduct, and 
particularly towards the younger members of the bar. As a 
politician, he was characterized for judgment, ardour, and 
constancy. In times of the greatest political difficulty and 
danger, he was cal/n, but resolute. He never desponded ; 
but trusting to the justice of his country's cause, he had 
an unshaken confidence that heaven would protect and de- 
liver her. 


Joseph Hewes was born near Kingston, in New- Jersey^ 
in the year 1730. His parents were Aaron and Providence 
Hewes, who were members of the society of friends, and 
who originally belonged to the colony of Connecticut. They 
were induced, however, to remove from New-England, on 
account of the prejudices which existed among the descen- 
dants of the puritans against those who adopted the quaker 
dress, or professed the quj^Jcer faith. 

At the period of their removal, many parts of New-Eng- 
land were suffering from the frequent hostilities of the in*- 
dians, who, roving through the forests in their vicinity, often 
made sudden incursions upon the inhabitants of those colo- 
nies, and generally marked their route with the most shock- 
ing barbarities. The murderous spirit of the Indians was 
also, at this time, much inflamed by an act of the govern- 
ment of Massachusetts, which had increased the premium on 
Indian scalps and Indian prisoners to a hundred pounds for 
each. By way of retaliation, the Indians often made their 


■uiguiiuiiy inenrsions into the territory of Massachnsetts, 
and not unfrequently extended their journies among the in- 
ofiensire fanners of Connecticut Hence, many of tlie latter, 
deeirovM of a more quiet and secure life, were induced to 
seek a permanent residence in the remoter parts of the 

Among those who thus fled from the annoyance of preju* 
dice, and from the deeper wrath of a savage foe, were the 
parents of Joseph Hewes. But eren in their flight they nar- 
rowly escaped the death which they wished to avoid. On 
passing the Housatonic River, a party of the indians came so 
nearly upon them, that Mrs. Hewes was wounded in the neck 
by a ball shot from the gun of a savage. 

In New-Jersey, however, where they at length arrived, 
they found a peaceful and secure home. Here, some time 
aAer their settlement, their son Joseph Hewes was born. Of 
the incidents of his younger days wc know but little. At a 
proper age he became a member of Princeton College, from 
which, having graduated in due course, he was placed in the 
counting-house of a gentleman at Philadelphia, to be educated 
as a merchant. 

On leaving the counting-house of his employer, he entered 
into the mercantile business for himself, and soon became 
an active and thrifty merchant. 

At the age of thirty he removed to North Carolina, and 
settled in the village of Edenton. The same prosperity 
which had attended him at Philadelphia, followed him fo a 
more southern province, and in a few years he acquired a 
handsome fortune. •< 

Mr. Hewes, both before and after his removal to North 
Carolina, sustained the reputation of a man of probity and 
honour. He acquired the confidence and esteem of the peo 
pie among whom he lived, and was soon called to represent 
them in the colonial legislature of the province. This dis 
tinction was conferred upon him for several successive years 
with increasing usefulness to his constituents, and increamng 
credit to himself. 

At length, in the year 1774| a coBgress^ well known in the 


annals of the American colonies, assembled in Philadelphia. 
In that body were three delegates from North Carolina, of 
whom Mr. Hcwes was one. 

The instructions and powers given to the delegates of this 
congress by the people of the several colonies, were consider- 
ably diversified. No public body, at that time, contemplated 
a separation from the mother country, and with no powers, 
to this effect were any of the delegates to the congress of 
1T74 invested. Their object respected the means most 
proper to restore harmony between themselves and Great 
Britain, to obtain redress of grievances which the colonies 
suffered, and to secure to them the peaceful enjoyment of 
their unalienable rights, as British subjects. 

No delegates to thir congress carried with them credentials 
of a bolder stamp, than those from North Carolina. They 
were invested with such powers as might " make any acts 
done by them, or consent given in behalf of this province, 
obligatory in honour upon any inhabitant thereof, who is not 
an alien to his country^s good, and an apostate to the liberties 
of America." 

On the meeting of this congress, two important committees 
were appointed ; the one, to '* state the rights of the colonies 
in general, the several instances in which these rights are 
violated or infringed, and the means most proper to be pur- 
sued for obtaining a restoration of them;" the other, to 
** examine and report the several statutes which ^affect the 
trade and manufactures of the colonies." Of the former of 
these committees, Mr. Hewes was appointed a member, and 
assisted in preparing their celebrated report. 

This report contained a temperate, but clear declaration 
of the rights of the English colonies in North America,^ which 
were expressed in the following language : 

*♦ 1. That they are entitled to life, liberty, and property; 
and they have never ceded to any sovereign power whatever 
a right to dispose of either, without their consent. 

** 2. That our ancestors, who first settled these colonies, 
were, at the time of their emigration from the mother cowv- 


irjf entided to all the rights, libertiesy and immiiDitieB of firee 
and natural bom subjects, within the realm of £ngland. 

'*3. That by such emigration they by no means forfeited* 
surrendered* or lost, any of those rights ; but that they were, 
and thek descendants now are, entitled to the exercise and 
enjoyment af all such of them as their local and other cir- 
cumstances enable them to exercise and enjoy. 

**4« That the foundation of English liberty, and of free go- 
vernment, is a right in the people to participate in their legisla- 
tive council ; and as the English colonists are not represented, 
and, from their local and other circumstances, cannot pro- 
perly be represented in the British parliament, they are enti- 
tled to a free and exclusive power of legislation in their seve- 
ral provincial legislatures, where their right of representation 
can alone be pursued in all cases of taxation and internal po- 
lity, subject only to the negative of their sovereign, in such 
manner as has been heretofore used and accustomed ; but if 
from the necessity of the case, and a regard to the mutual 
Interests of both countries, we cheerfully consent to the ope- 
ration of such acts of the British parliament as are bona 
fide restrained to the regulation of our external commerce, 
for the purpose of securing the commercial advantages of the 
whole empire to the mother country, and the commercial be- 
nefit of its respective members ; excluding every idea of taxa 
tion, internal or external, for raising a revenue on the subjects 
in America, without their consent. 


*' &. That the respective colonies are entitled to the common 
law of England, and, more especially, to the great and ioesti- 
mable privilege of being tried by their peers of the vicinage, 
according to the course of that law. 

"6. That they are entitled to the benefit of such of the Eng- 
lish statutes as existed at the time of their colonization, and 
which they have, by experience, respectively found applica- 
ble to their several local and other circumstances. 

**7. That these his majesty's colonies are likewise entitled 
to all the immunities and privileges granted and confirmed 
to them by royal charters, or secured by their several codes 
of provincial laws. 

XOBBPS BBir«fe. 431 

*' 8. That they have & light penceably to aasemble, considef 
9ft theiT grievaii<;e(3, and petition the king ; and that all pro* 
secutions, prohibitory proclamatioBB, and commitments for 
the same, are illegal. 

" 9. That the keeping a standing army in these colonies in 
times of peace, without consent of the legislature of that co« 
lony in which such army is kept, is against the law. 

" 10. It is indispensably necessary to good government, and 
rendered essential by the English constitution, that the con- 
stituent branches of the legislature be independent of each 
other; and therefore the exercise of legislative power in seve- 
ral colonies by a council appointed during pleasure by the 
crown, is unconstitutional, dangerous, and destructive to the 
freedom of American legislation. 

'* All and each of which the aforesaid deputies, in behalf of 
themselves and their constituents, do claim, demand, and in- 
sist on, as their indisputable rights and liberties, which can- 
not be legally taken from them, altered, or abridged, by any 
power whatever, widiout their consent, by their representa- 
tives in their several provincial legislatures." 

To the above declaration of rights was added an enumera- 
tion of the wrongs already sustained by the colonies ; after 
stating which, the report concluded as follows : 

*f To these grievous acts and measures, Americans cannot 
submit ; but in hopes their fellow subjects in Great Britain 
will, on a revision of them, restore us to that state in whidi 
both countries found happiness and prosperity, we have, for 
the present, only resolved to pursue the following peaceable 
measures : 1. To enter into a non-importation, non-con- 
sumption, and non-exportation agreement, or association. 
2. To prepare an address to the people of Great Britain, and 
a memorial to the inhabitants of British America* And, 3. to 
prepare a loyal address to his majesty, agreeably to resolQ** 
tions already entered into." 

Few measures adopted by any session of congress during 
the revolutionary struggle, were more remarkable than that 
of the congress of 1774, which recommended the system of 
nMi'im'poTtatian. It was a measure dictated by the highest 


patriotism, and proceeded upon the acknowledged fact, that 
the Mine exalted patriotism which existed among them, exist- 
ed, also, among the American people. The efficiency of the 
measure, it was obvious, must lie in the union of the people 
to support it They must adopt and persevere in a system 
of privation. A willingness to do this generally prevailed 
throughout the colonies; and to the government of Great 
Britain was presented the spectacle of thirteen colonies 
adopting a measure, novel, perhaps, in th^ history of the 
world, and supporting it at the sacrifice of a great portion of 
those comforts which they had been accustomed to enjoy. 

Although a merchant, and one who had been engaged in 
commercial transactions with England for the space of twenty 
years, Mr. Hewes cheerfully assisted in forming a plan of the 
non-importation association, and most readily became a 
member of it 

The manner in which Mr. Hewes had acquitted himseh' 
during the session of this congress, was so acceptable to the 
people of North Carolina, that he was again appointed to the 
same high office, and in the month of May, 1T75, again ap- 
peared at Philadelphia, and continued in congress until the 
adjournment of that body, on the fast day of July. During 
the recess of congress, between July and September, he made 
a visit to his friends in New-Jersey, and in the latter month 
again resumed his place. From this date until the twenty- 
ninth of October, 1779, Mr. Hewes continued to represent 
the state of North Carolina, with the exception of something 
more than a year, during which he devoted himself to his 
private affidrs, and to the interests of his state at home. 

The last time that he appeared in congress was on the 
twenty-ninth of October, of the year last mentioned, after 
which, an indisposition under which he had laboured for 
some time confined him to his chamber, and at length, on the 
tenth of November, terminated his life, in the fiftieth year of 
his age. His funeral was attended on the following day bj 
congress, by the general assembly of Pennsylvania, the presi- 
dent and supreme executive council,. the minister plenipotei^ 
tiary of France, and a numerous assemblage of citizens. In 


testimony of their respect for his memory, congress resolred 
to wear a crape around the left arm, and to continue in mourn- 
ing for the apace of one month. 

Although the events in the life of Mr. Hewes, which we 
have been able to collect, are few, they perhaps sufficiently 
speak his worth, as a man of integrity, firmness, and ardent 
patriotism. To this may be added, that in personal appear* 
ance he was prepossessing, and characterized in respect to his 
disposition for great benevolence, and in respect to his man* 
ners for great amenity. He left a large fortune, but no chil- 
dren to inherit it 


John Penn, was a native of the county of Caroline, in the 
province of Virginia, where he was born on the seventeenth 
day of May, 1741. He was the only child of his parents, 
Moses and Catharine Penn. 

The early education of young Penn was greatly neglected 
by his parents, who appear in no degree to have appreciated 
the value of knowledge. Hence, on his reaching the age of 
eighteen, he had only enjoyed the advantages conferred by a 
common school, and these for the space of but two or three 

The death of Mr. Penn occurred in the year 1759, on which 
event his son became his own guardian, and the sole mana- 
ger of the fortune left him, which, though not large, was com- 
petent. It was fortunate that his principles, at this early age, 
were in a good degree established; otherwise he might, at 
this unguarded period of life, left as he was without pater- 
nal counsel and direction, have become the dupe of the i|n- 
principled, or giving loose to licentious passions, have ruined 
himself by folly and dissipation. 

Although the cultivation of his mind had been neglected in 
3K 37 


the manner we hare stated, he possessed intellecUial po^^en 
of no ordinary strength ; and, as he now enjoyed a competent 
fortune, and possessed a disposition to cnltiTate those powers, 
it is not surprising that his progress should have been rapid. 

Fortunately he lived in the vicinity of Edmund Pendleton, 
a gentleman of rare endowments, highly distinguished for his 
legal attainments, and well known as one of the most accom- 
plished statesmen of Virginia. Mr. Pendleton being a rela* 
tive, young Penn sought access to his library, which was om^ 
of the best in the province. The privilege which was thus 
freely and liberally granted him, was by no means neglected. 
By means of reading, the powers of bis mind soon began to 
onfold themselves, and he, at length, determined to devote 
himself to the study of law. 

Such a project, on the part of a young man whose early 
education had been so greatly neglected, and whose only 
guide through the labyrinth that lay before him, was to be 
hb own good sense, was indicative of powers of no ordina 
ry character. Our country has furnished examples of a simi- 
lar kind ; and to the obscure and neglected, they present the 
most powerful motives to exertion and perseverance. The 
author of our being has prescribed no narrow limits to human 
genius, nor conferred upon any one class of persons the exclu- 
sive privilege of becoming intellectually great. 

At the age of twenty-one, Mr. Penn reaped in part the re 
ward of his toil and indefatigable industry, in being licensed 
as a practitioner of law. The habits of study and application 
which he bad now formed, were of great advantage to him in 
pursuing the business of his profession. He rose with great 
rapidity into notice, and soon equalled the most distinguished 
at the bar. As an advocate, in particular, there were few 
who surpassed him. 

In 1T74, Mr. Penn moved to the province of North Caroli- 
na, where he soon occupied as distinguished a place at the 
bar, as he had done in Virginia; although by his remoral to 
another province it was necessary to understand and apply a 
new code of laws. With these he made himself acquainted 
with ease and celerity 

JOHN PENN. ' 435 

In 1775, he was elected a member of the continental con- 
gress, in which body he took his ,8eat on the twelfth of Octo- 
ber. He was successively re-elected to congress, in the 
years 1T77, 1T78, and 1779, in which body he was distin- 
guished for his promptitude and fidelity. He was seldom ab- 
sent- from his seat, and hesitated not, either from want of 
firmness or patriotism, to urge forward those measures, which 
were calculated to redress the wrongs, and establish and per- 
petuate the rights of his country. 

After the return of peace, Mr. Penn retired to the enjoy- 
ment of private life. The incidents in the remaining portion 
of his history were, therefore, probably few; and differed in 
nothing from those which usually belong to individuals of 
respectability, in the shades of peaceful retreat. His death 
occurred in the month of September, 1788, at the age of forty- 
six years. He had three children, two of whom died on- 


Edward Rutledos, 
Thomas Hetward, 
Thomas Lynch, Jun* 
Arthur Middletov. 


Edward Rutledoe, the first of the South Carolina dele- 
gation, who affixed his name to the Declaration of Indepen- 
dence, was horn in the city of Charleston, Norember, 1749« 
He was the youngest son of Doctor John Rutledge, who emi- 
grated from Ireland to South Carolina, about the year 1756. 
His mother was Sarah Hert, a lady of respectable family, and 
large fortune. At the age of twenty-seven, she became a 
widow with seven children. Her eldest son was John Rut- 
ledge, distinguished for his patriotic zeal during the revolu- 
tion. Her youngest son was the subject of the present me- 

Of the early years of Edward Rutledge we hare little to 
record. He was placed under the care of David Smith, of 
New-Jersey, by whom he was instructed in the learned lan- 
guages ; but he appears not to have made as rapid attainments 
as some others, although, as a scholar, he was respectable. 
Before he had devoted as much time to academic studies, as 

t ^mld have beeh desirable, he commenced the study of law 
with his elder brother, who, at that time, was becoming the 
most eminent advocate at the Charleston bar. Although at 
this time he was still young, he was capable of appreciating 
the advantages which he enjoyed, and was strongly impelled 
to exertion, by the brilliant and successful exieimple which 
his brother held constantly before him. 

In 1769, at the age of twenty years, he sailed for England, 
to complete his legal education. He became a student at the 
Temple. He derived great advantage from an attendance 
upon the English courts, and houses of parliament. In the 
latter place, he had an opportunity of listening to the elo« 
quence of some of the most distinguished orators who lived 
at that day. 

In 1773, he returned to his native country, and entered 
upon the duties of his profession. Ite was at this time distin- 
guished for his quickness of apprehension, fluency of speech, 
end graceful delivery. Hence he early excited the admiration 
of those who heard him, and gave promise of that future emi- 
nence to which he was destined to arrive. 

The general esteem in which he was held, was evinced in 
1774, by his appointment to the distinguished congress which 
assembled at Philadelphia in that year. He was at this time 
b'Jt twenty-five years of age. It was a high honour for so 
young a man to be called to serve in the national council, 
with men of exalted powers and pre-eminent experience. It 
furnished unquestionable proof of the estimation in which he 
was held, and strong presumptive evidence that this estima- 
tion of his talents and moral worth was not unjust. As the 
proceedings of the congress of 1774 were conducted with 
closed doors, and an injunction of secrecy laid upon its mem- 
bers, it is impossible, at this day, to ascertain the precise 
share of influence which the individual members exerted, on 
all the measures which they advocated. Mr. Rutledge was, 
however, with the other delegates of South Carolina, for- 
mally thanked by the provincial congress, for the spirited 
and independent course he had pursued, and was again elected 
to the important station which he held. 



In ifi6 congress of 1770| he took an active part in the disr 
cussions which preceded the declaration of independence. 
He is said to have proposed some alterations in the original 
draught of that cejehrated instroment : but the precise nature 
of them it is now impossible to ascertain. The merit of the 
instrument doubtless wholly belongs to Mr. Jefferson. Somo 
alterationst indeed, were made in it ; but they were chiefly 
rerbal, while the spirit and texture remained untouched. 

At a subsequent date, Mr. Rutledge was appointed, with 
Dr. Franklin and John Adams, as commissioners to wait upon 
liOrd Howe, who had requested congress to appoint such a 
committee to enter with him into negotiations for peace. In 
a former page we had occasion to allude to the appointment 
of these commissioners, and to state that the conference was 
productive of no beneficial results. 

On the breaking up of the conference. Lord Howe despatch* 
ed his own barge to convey the commbsioners from Long 
Island to New-York. A little before reaching the shore. 
Doctor Franklin, putting his hand in his pocket, began chink- 
ing some gold and silver coin. This, when about leaving the 
boat, he offered to the sailors, who had rowed it. The Bri- 
tish officer, however, who commanded the boat, prohibited 
the sailors accepting it After the departure of the boat, one 
of the commissioners inquired why he had offered money to 
the sailors. *' Why," said the doctor, in reply, " the British 
think we have no hard money in the colonies, and I thought 
I would show them to the contrary. I risked nothing," added 
he, '* for I knew that the sailors would not be permitted to 
accept it" 

Mr. Rutledge was again appointed to congress, in the year 
1779 ; but in consequence of ill health he was unable to reach 
the seat of government, and returned home. In 1780, during 
the investment of Charleston by the British, Mr. Rutledge 
was taken prisoner by the enemy, and sent to St Augustine 
as a prisoner, where he was detained nearly a year before he 
was exchanged. Soon after his exchange was effected, he 
landed at Philadelphia, near which he resided, until a short 
time before the city of Charleston was evacuated by the Bri- 


ttsh, when he returned to the place of his nativity, and to the 
enjoyment of the society of his friends and relations. 

From this period, for the space of seventeen years, Mr* 
Rutledge was successfully engaged in the practice of his pro- 
fession, and from time to time in important services which 
he rendered to the state, as a member of .her legislature. 

In 1798, he relinquished his station at the bar, and was 
elected the chief magistrate of South Carolina. His consti- 
tution, however, became much impaired in consequence of 
severe and repeated attacks of the gout, to which he was sub- 
ject. He continued, however, to perform his official duties 
until within a short time before his death. This event is 
supposed to have been somewhat hastened, by a necessary 
attendance upon the sitting of the legislature at Columbia, 
and an unfortunate exposure to rain and cold during his re- 
turn from the latter place to Charleston. On reaching home, 
he was confined by a severe illness, which terminated his life 
on the 23d day of January, ISOO. 

The death of Mr. Rutledge was felt to be a severe loss, both 
by the people of Charleston and by the state at large. Few 
men were more deservedly respected ; no one could, be more 
generally beloved. Military and other funeral honours were 
paid to him on the occasion of his being carried to his long 
home ; and the universal regret expressed at his departure^ 
showed full well how sincerely he was lamented. 

Both in his public and private character, Mr. Rutledge was 
adorned with many virtues. In his disposition, he was un- 
commonly benevolent ; he entered with great feeling into the 
sufferings of his fellow men, and felt it not only his duty, but 
his pleasure, to administer to their necessities. His deeds of 
kindness were many, were widely extended, and are still re- 
membered with affection and gratitude. 

As an orator, he was deservedly eminent. He had faults, 
indeed, both in point of manner and style, being too studied 
in respect to the former, and too metaphorical, and sometimes 
inaccurate, in respect to the latter. He also, it is said, ad- 
dressed himself rather to the passions than to the under* 
standing; yet, with these faults there were few speakers who 

tuft SOrTK OMBOUlf A BBLBeAflOlT. 

eommaadcd greater attentioBy or were more sttccessfal. He 
was less impetuous, and perhaps less commanding, than hitf 
brother John Rutledge ; but he possessed more of the style 
of Cicero. There was a suavity in his manner, a conciliatory 
attraction in his arguments, which had ^quently the effect 
of subduing the prejudices of the unfriendly, and which sel- 
dom failed to increase the ardour and inflescibility of steady 
friends. The eloquence of John Rutledge, like that of Pat- 
rick Henry of Virginia, was as a mountain torrent ; that of 
Edward Rutledge, that of a smooth stream gliding along the 
plain ; the former hurried you forward with a resistless im- 
petuosity; the latter conducted you wiUi fascinations, that 
made every progressive step appear enchanting. 

In his person, Mr. Rutledge was above the middle size, and 
of a florid, but fair complexion. His countenance expressed 
great animatioiv; and, on account of his intelligent and bene-* 
volent aspect, was universally admired. 

On his return from Europe, Mr. Rutledge married the 
daughter of Henry Middleton, by whom he left a son, Ma- 
jor Henry M. Rutledge, of Tennessee ; and a daughter, who, 
it is belictved, now resides at Charleston. Upon the death of 
his first wife, he married the widow of Nicholas Eveleigh, 
comptroller of the treasury of the United States, in the time 
of Wasliington^s administration. This lady is supposed to be 
still living. 


Thomas Heyward was born in St. Luke^s parish, in the 
province of South Carolina, in the year 1746. His father, 
Colonel Daniel Heyward, was a planter of great wealth, which 
he had chiefly acquired by his industry. 

Unlike many gentlemen of fortune, Mr. Heyward did not 
appear to idolize his possessions ; at least, convinced of thd 
importance of intellectual cultivation, he determined to be^ 



fltO'w upon his son all the advantages which a thorough edb^ 
cation might impart. Accordingly, the best school in the 
province was selected for young Heyward, who, by his dili- 
gence, became well acquainted with the Latin language, and 
with such other branches as were at that time taught in the 
most respectable provincial seminaries. 

Having finished his scholastic studies, he entered the law 
office of a Mr. Parsons, a gentleman who at that time was dis- 
tinguished for his professional learning and practical skill. 
On accomplishing the usual term of study, young Mr. Hey- 
ward, according to the fashion adopted by families of fortune, 
was sent to England to complete his legal preparation. He 
was entered as a student in one of the Inns of Court. A]«- 
though he had in expectancy a large fortune, he devoted him-* 
self witli great ardour to the study of law, emulating the dili- 
gence of those who expected to derive their subsistence from 
the practice of the profession. 

On completing his studies in England, he commenced the 
tour of Europe, which occupied him several years. This 
was an advantage which he enjoyed beyond most of the 
youth of the colonies ; nor did he neglect to improve the su* 
periour means which were thus allowed him of gaining a 
knowledge of the different countries of Europe. He enjoyed 
a rare opportunity of contrasting the industry and simplicity 
of his countrymen, with the indolence, and luxury, and li- 
centiousness, the pride and haughtiness, so prevalent on the 
old continent. 

At length, satisfied with the observations which he had 

made of men and manners abroad, he returned, with pleasure, 

' to his native country ; and impressed with the obligations of 

application to some honest calling, he devoted himself, with 

great zeal for a man of fortune, to the labours of the law. 

In 1775, Mr. Heyward was elected to supply a vacancy in 
congress, occasioned by the recall of the distinguished John 
Rutledge, whose presence was required at home to assist in 
defending the state against a threatened invasion. This 
honour, owing to his peculiar modesty, he at first declined. 
Ble was, however, at length induced to enter upon the duties 


q€ hit aj^iatment, aad arriTed ia Pbiladel^iia ia season to 
aitead upon the discussion of the great question of American 

In the year ITTS* Mr. Hejrward was appointed a judge of 
the criminal courts of the new government. A sense of dxiiy 
alone prompted him to accept of this arduous and responsible 
station. Soon after his elevation to the bench^ he was called 
to the painful duty of presiding at the trial and condemnation 
of several persons charged with a treasonable correspondence 
with the British army, which, at that time, was in the vicinity 
of Charieston* The condemnation of these persons was fol- 
lowed by their execution, which took place within view of 
the enemy, and which served to render the judge most ob« 
noxious to the British. 

In the spring of 1780, the ci^y of Charleston was besieged 
by General Clinton, and was taken possession of by him, on 
the 12th of May. Judge Hey ward, at this time, had com* 
mand of a battalion. On the reduction of the place, he be- 
came a prisoner of war. As he had been one of the leaders 
of the revolution, he, with several others who had acted a 
similarly distinguished part, were transported to St Augustine, 
while the other prisoners were confined on board some prisob 
ships in the harbour of Charleston. During his absence, he 
suffered greatly in respect to his property ; his plantation 
being much injured by a party of marauders, and all his slavev 
seized and carried away. Some of his slaves were after- 
wards reclaimed ; but one hundred and thirty were finally 
lost, being transported, as was supposed, , for the benefit of 
the sugar planters on the island of Jamaica. 

Judge Heyward, and lib fellow prisoners at St Augustine, 
at length had leave to return to Philadelphia. On his passage 
thither, he narrowly escaped a watery grave. By some acci- 
dent he fell overboard ; but, fortunately, kept himself from 
sinking by holding to the rudder of the shipi until assistance 
could be rendered to him. 

On returning to Carolina, he resumed his judicial duties; 
in the exercise of which he continued till 1798. During this 
interval* he acted as a member of a convention for formini 

the state constitution, in 1790. In the following year, he 
retired fVom all public labours and cares, except those which 
"were attached to his commission as judge. 

Mr. Heyward was twice married ; in ITTS, to a Miss Mat- 
tliews, a lady of affectionate disposition, and great personal 
eharms. Sometime afler her death, he was again connected 
in marriage with a Miss Savage. By both of these wives he 
had children, the history of whom, however, we have not as- 
certained. Judge Heyward died in March, 1809, in the sixty- 
fourth year of his age. 

Although we have been able to collect but few incidents in 
llie life of Thomas Heyward, our readers may be assured that 
he was among die most estimable of the men who lived in hb 
time, and one of the most firm, honest, intelligent, and fear- 
less, who embarked in the revolution. He was characterized 
for sound judgment, and an ardent disposition. Possessing 
such a character, he naturally acquired, and was justly enti- 
tled to, the confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens. 

It was happy for America, happy for the cause of freedom, 
that the God of heaven raised up such a generation of men at 
a time when the civil and religious liberties of the country de- 
manded their wisdom, fortitude, and patriotism ; and at a 
time, too, when, without their existence, and without their 
exalted virtues, the world had never seen so brilliant an ex- 
hibition of political liberty, order, and peace, as is presented 
in the government of republican America. 


Thomas Lynch was the son of a gentleman of the same 
name, and was born on the fifth of August, 1749, at Prince 
George's Parish, in the province of South Carolina. The 
family was an ancient one, and is said to have originally emi- 
grated from Austria to England, where they settled in the 



county of Kent ; sometinie after irhieh, a branch passed ot^ 
to Ireland, and thence some of the descendants removed to 
South Carolina. The name of the family is said to have been 
derived from a field of pulse called Hncej upon which the 
inhabitants of a certain town in Austria lived, for some time, 
during a siege which was laid to it ; and from which circum- 
stance they changed the name of the town to Lince or lArUz, 
which name was adopted by the principal family of the place. 

The precise period when Jonack Lynch, the great grand- 
father of Thomas Lynch, the subject of the present memoir, 
emigrated from Ireland to America is uncertain, but, proba- 
bly, at an early period after the settlement of the colony. At 
his death, he left his son Thomas a slender patrimony, which, 
however, by his industry, and especially by the purchase of a 
large tract of land, which he devoted to the cultivation of 
rice, was increased to a princely fortune. This fortune, at his 
death, was left to a son by the name of Thomas, father of the 
subject of the present sketch. 

At an early age, young Thomas Lynch was sent to a flou- 
rishing school, at that time maintained at Georgetown, South 
Carolina. Before he had reached his thirteenth year, his fa- 
ther removed him from this school and sent him to England, 
to enjoy those higher advantages, which that country pre- 
sented to the youth of America. Having passed some time 
in the collegiate institution of Eaton, he was entered a mem- 
ber of the university of Cambridge, the degrees of which in- 
stitution he received in due course. On leaving the universi- 
ty, he sustained a high reputation, both in respect to his clas- 
sical attainments, and for the virtues which adorned his cha- 

This intelligence, communicated by some friend to his fa- 
ther, was so highly flattering, that he was induced to continue 
his son abroad for some years longer, and wrote to him, ex- 
pressing his wish that he should enter his name at the tem- 
ple, with a view to the profession of law. This he accord- 
ingly did, devoting himself with his characteristic zeal to the 
philosophy of jurisprudence^ and to the principles of theBii- 
tuJi constitution. 

TaOMAt LTM CB« 445 

. About the year 1772, after an absence of eight or nine 
years, young Mr. Lynch returned to South Carolina* He 
returped an eminently accomplbhed man ; in his manners 
graceful and insinuating, and with a mind enriched with 
abundant stores of knowledge, justly the pride of his father, 
and an ornament to the society in which he was destined to 

Although he was eminently qualified to enter upon the pro« 
fessioQ of law, he succeeded in persuading his father to allow 
him to relinquish the pursuit of a profession which his for* 
tune rendered it unnecessary for him to pursue. Such a pre- 
liminary course was unnecessary to entitle him to the confi« 
dence and esteem of his fellow-citizens. These he at once 

In 1775, on the raising of the first South Carolina regiment 
of provincial regulars, he was appointed to the command of 
a company. Having received his commission, he soon en- 
listed his quota of men, in some of the neighbouring coun- 
ties, and at the head of them took up his march for Charles- 
ton. Unfortunately, during the march he was attacked by a 
violent bilious fever, which greatly injured his constitution, 
and from the effects of which he never afterwards entirely re- 

On his recovery, he joined his regiment, but was at this 
time unable, from the feeble state of his health, to perform 
the duties of his station according to his wishes. Added to 
this affliction, the unwelcome intelligence was received of the 
dangerous illness of his father, who was at that time attend- 
ing in his place upon congress in Philadelphia. He imme- 
diately made the necessary arrangements to hasten to a dying 
father, if possible to administer to him the support and con- 
solation which an affectionate son only could impart To 
his surprise, his application for a furlough for this purpose 
was denied by the commanding officer. Col. Gadsden. This 
disappointment, however, and the controversy which grew 
out of the above refusal, were terminated by his election to 
congress, ad the successor of his fieithen He now lost no time 
in hastening to Philadelphia, where he found his father still 


Kvingy imd to far reeoTered that the hope was indulged that 
he might yet be able to reach Carolina. 

The health of the younger Mr. Lynch, aoon after joining 
congreaSf began also to decline with the most alarming ra- 
pidity. He continued, howeyer, his attendance upon that 
body, until the declaration of independence liad been voted, 
and his signature affixed to that important instrument. He 
then set out for Carolina in company witli his father, who 
had hitherto been detained by feeble health in Philadelphia ; 
but the father lired only to reach Annapolis, when a second 
paralytic attack terminated his valuable life. 

ACier this afflicting event, the son proceeded to Carolina ; 
but such was his own enfeebled state of health, that he had 
little reason to anticipate the long continuance of life. A 
change of climate, in the view of his physicians and friends, 
presented the only hope of his ultimate recovery. A voyage 
to Europe was at that time eminently hazardous, on account 
of exposure to capture. A vessel, however, was found pro- 
ceeding to St. Eustatia, on board of which, accompanied by 
his amiable and affectionate wife, he embarked, designing to 
proceed by a circuitous route to the south of France. 

From the time of their sailing, nothing more is known of 
their fate. Various rumours were from time to time in cir- 
culation concerning the vessel in which they sailed ; but their 
friends, after months of cruel suspense, were obliged to adopt 
the painful conclusion, that this worthy pair found a watery 
grave during some tempest, which must have foundered the 
ship in which they sailed. 

Although the life of Mr. Lynch was dius terminated, at an 
early age, he had lived sufficiently long to render eminent ser- 
vices to his country, and to establish his character as a man 
of exalted views and exalted moral worth. Few men pos- 
sessed a more absolute control over the passions of the heart, 
and few evinced in a greater degree the virtues which adorn 
the human mind. In all the relations of life, whether as a 
husband, a friend, a patriot, or the master of the slave, he ap- 
peared conscious of his obligations, and found his pleasure in 
discharging them* 

That a man of so much excellence, of su<ih ability and in- 
tegrity, such firmness and patriotism, sa useful to his country, 
BO tender and assiduous in all the obligations of life, should 
Iiave been thus cut off, in the midst of his course, and in a 
manner so painful to his friends, is one of those awful dispen- 
sations of Him whose way is in the great deep, and whose 
judgments are past finding out. 


Arthur Middleton was the son of Henry Middleton, and 
was bom in the year 1743, at the seat of his father, at Mid- 
dleton place, near the banks of the Ashley. 

At the early age of twelve years, he was sent to the- cele- 
brated school of Hackney, in the neighbourhood of London ; 
whence, after spending two years, he was removed to the 
school of Westminster. The advantages which he here en- 
joyed resulted in a thoroughacquaintance with the Greek and 
Roman classics, especially in a knowledge of the former, in 
which he is said to have greatly excelled. The taste which 
he acquired for classical literature he preserved through life, 
and from the indulgence of it derived an exalted pleasure, 
lost to minds of a heavier mould. 

At the age of eighteen or nineteen, young Middleton be* 
came a member of one of the colleges of the university of 
Cambridge. Having for his companions young men frequently 
of dissipated habits, he was often powerfully tempted to en* 
ter into their youthful follies ; but fortunately he escaped the 
contagion of their pernicious examples, and devoted that lei- 
sure to the improvement of his mind, which the less reflect- 
ing devoted to amusements and vicious indulgence. In his 
twenty-second year, he was graduated bachelor of arts, and 
left the university with the reputation of an accomplislied 
. scholart and a moral man. 


Bjr metns of his fiitther's liberality, he was now enabled to 
travel. After visiting sevescil parts of England, he proceeded 
to the continent, where he spent two years, chiefly in the 
aonthem parts of Europe. At Rome, he passed several 
months in viewing the various objects of taste aflforded by 
that ancient and splendid spot He here greatly improved 
his taste for music and painting ; and even became well versed 
in the principles of sculpture and architecture. 

Soon aAer his return to South Carolina, he was connected 
in marriage with the daughter of Walter Izzard, Esq. Hav- 
ing still a fondness for travelling, he, soon after his marriage, 
again embarked on a visit to Europe, accompanied by his 
wife. In this tour he visited many places in England, whence 
proceeding to the continent, they passed through several of 
the principal cities of France and Spain. In 1773, Mr. Mid- 
dleton once more returned to America, and now settled down 
on the delightful banks of the Ashley. 

The father of Mr. Middleton was, at this time, a man df 
great wealth, and both by himself and family the approaching 
controveiiy between Great Britain and her American colo- 
nies might have been viewed with great concern, had not the 
patriotism with which they were imbued much preferred the 
welfare of their country, to their private interests. A rupture 
with the mother country would necessarily put to hazard the 
wealth which had long been enjoyed by the family, and might 
abridge that influence, and diminish those comforts, which that 
wealth naturally gave them. But what were these in compari- 
son with the rights and liberties of a country, destined to em- 
brace millions within its bosom ? Between the alternatives 
presented, there was no room to hesitate. Both father and 
son, in the spirit which had long characterized the family, 
stood forth in the defence of the rights of America, and " left 
not a hook to hang a doubt on," that they were patriots of 
the noblest stamp. 

In the spring of 1775, Mr.. Arthur Middleton was chosen 
on a secret committee, who were invested with authority to 
place the colony in a state of defence. In the exercise of the 
trust with which they were charged, they immediately todc 


possession of the public magazine of arms and ammuniticn, 
and removed its contents to a place of safety. 

In the following June, the provincial congress of South 
Carolina proceeded to appoint a council of safety, con- 
sisting of thirteen persons. This council, of which Mr. Mid- 
dleton was a member, took measures to organize a military 
force, the officers pf which received commissions at their 
hands, and under their signatures. Among the members of 
this committee, no one exhibited more activity, or manifested 
a greater degree of resolution and firmness, than did Arthur 

In February, 1776, the provincial legislature of South 
Carolina appointed a committee to prepare and report a con- 
stitution, which " should most effectually secure peace and 
good order in the colony, during the continuance of the dis- 
pute with Great Britain.'* This duty was assigned to Mr 
Middleton and ten others. 

Having discharged the duty to the satisfaction of the as* 
sembly, Mr. Middleton was soon after elected by that body 
a representative of South Carolina in the congress of the 
United States, assembled at Philadelphia. Here he had an 
opportunity of inscribing his name on the great charter of 
American liberties. At the close of the year 1777, Mr. Mid- 
dleton relinquished his seat in congress, and returned to 
South Carolina, leaving behind him, in the estimation of those 
who had been associated with him in the important measures 
of congress, during the time he had been with them, the cha- 
racter of a man of the purest patriotism, of sound judgment, 
and unwavering resolution. 

In the spring of 1778, the assembly of South Carolina pro- 
ceeded to the formation of a new constitution, differing, in 
many important points, from that of 1776. On presenting it 
to the governor, John Rutledge, for his approbation, that 
gentleman refused to assent to it. But, as he would not 
embarrass the assembly in any measures which they might 
deem it expedient to adopt, he resigned the executive chair, 
upon which the assembly proceeded by a secret ballot again 

to fill it On counting the votes, it was found that Mr. Mid- 
3M 38* 


dleton was elected to the office by a cdhsiderable majority. 
Botv entertaining similar yiewa in respect to the eonstitation, 
expressed by the distinguished gentleman who bad Tacated 
the ciiair of state* he frankly avowed to the assembly* thmt he 
could not conscientiously accept the appointment, under the 
constitution which they had adopted. The candour witli 
which he had avowed hu sentiments* and the sterling integ 
rity of the man* exhibited in refusing an honour from con- 
scientious scruples, instead of diminishing their respect for 
him, contributed to raise him still higher in the confidence of 
bis fellow-citizens. The assembly proceeded to anothei 
choice, and elected Mr. Rawlins Lowndes to fill the vacancy, 
who gave his sanction to the new constitution. 

During the year 1779, the southern states became the prin 
cipal theatre of the war. Many of the plantations were wan 
tonly plundered, and the families and property of the princi 
pal inhabitants were exposed to the insults and ravages of 
the invaders. Daring these scenes of depredation, Middle- 
ton place did not escape. Although the buildings were 
spared, they were rifled of every thing valuable. Such arti- 
cles as could not easily be transported were either wantonly 
destroyed, or greatly injured. Among those which were in- 
jured, was a valuable collection of paintings belonging to Mr. 
Middleton. Fortunately, at the time the marauders visited 
Middleton place* the family had made their escape a day's 
journey to the north of Charleston. 

On the investment of the latter place, in the following year, 
Mr. Middleton was present, and actively engaged in the de- 
fence of the city. With several others, on the surrender of 
this place, he was taken prisoner, and was sent by sea to St 
Augustine, in East Florida, where he was kept in confinement 
for nearly a year. At length, in July, 1781, he was ex- 
changed, and proceeded in a cartel to Philadelphia. On his 
arrival at the latter place, Governor Rutledge, in the exercise 
of authority conferred upon him by the general assembly of 
South Carolina, appointed him a representative in congress. 
To this cfice he was again elected in 1782; but in the month 
^ November of that year, he returned to South Carolina on 



a visit to his family, from whom he h|4 been separated during 
a long and anxious period. 

On the signing the preliminaries of peace, Mr. Middleton 
declined accepting a seat in congress, preferring the pleasures 
of retirement with his family, to any honour which could be 
conferred upon him. He occasionally, however, accept.ed of 
a seat in the state legislature, in which he was greatly instru- 
mental in promoting the tranquillity and happiness of his fel- 

The life of Mr. Middleton was terminated on the 1st of 
January, 17S7. His death was occasioned by an intermittent 
fever, which he took in the preceding month of November, 
by an injudicious exposure to the unsettled weather of the 
autumnal season. 

In his person, Mr. Middleton was of ordinary size, sym- 
metrically proportioned, with fine features, and countenance 
expressive of firmness and decision. 



Button Gwinnett, 
Lyman Hall, 

George Walton 


Button Gwinnett was a native of England, where he wss 
born about the year 1732. His parents were respectable in 
life, and gave their son as good an education as their mode- 
rate circumstances would allow. On coming of age, Mr. 
Gwinnett became a merchant in the city of Bristol. 

Some time after his marriage in England, he removed to 
America, and selecting Charleston, South Carolina, as a place 
of settlement, he continued there for about two years ; at the 
expiration of which, having sold his stock in trade, he pur- 
chased a large tract of land in Georgia, where he devoted 
himself extensively to agricultural pursuits. 

Mr. Gwinnett had from his earliest emigration to America 
taken a deep interefit in the welfare of the colonies ; but, from 
the commencement of the controversy with Great Britain, he 
had few anticipations, that the cause of the colonies could 
succeed. A auccessful resistance to so mighty a power .as 
that of the 0nited Kingdoms, to him appeared extremely 


doubtful ; and such continued to be his apprehensions, until 
about the year 1775, when his views experienced no, incon- 
siderable change* 

This change in his sentiments, touching the final issue of 
the controyersy, produced a corresponding change in his con- 
duct. He now came forth as the open advocate of strong and 
decided measures, in favour of obtaining a redress, if possi- 
ble, of American grievances, and of establishing the rights of 
the colonies on a firm and enduring basis. In the early part 
of the year 1776, he was elected by the general assembly, 
hel4 in Savannah, a representative of the province of Georgia, 
in congress. Agreeably to his appointment he repaired to 
Philadelphia, and in the following month of May, for the first 
time, took his seat in the national council. In October, he 
was re-elected for the year ensuing to the same responsible 

In the month of February, 1777, a contention of citizens 
from Georgia was held in Savannah to frame a constitution 
for the future government of the state. Of this convention 
Mr. Gwinnett was a member, and is said to have furnished 
the outlines of that constitution, which was subsequently 

Shortly after the above convention, occurred the death of 
Mr. Bullock, the president of the provincial council. To this 
office Mr. Gwinnett was immediately elevated. Unfortu- 
nately, while he represented the colony in congress, he was a 
competitor with Colonel Lackland M'Intosh, for the office of 
brigadieir general of the continental brigade, about to be levi- 
ed in Georgia, to which office the latter was appointed. The 
success of his rival, Mr. Gwinnett bore with little fortitude. 
His ambition was disappointed, and being naturally hasty in 
his temper, and in his conclusions, he seems, from tliis time, 
to have regarded Colonel Mcintosh as a personal enemy. 

On becoming president of the executive council, Mr. Gwin- 
aett adopted several expedients by which to mortify his ad- 
versary. Among these, one was the assumption of great 
power over the continental army in Georgia, in consequence 

454 osomoiA dilioatioit. 

of which General M'Intosh wa« treated with much disrespect 
by a part of his officers and soldiers. To humble his adver- 
sary still farther, Mr. Gwinnett, in an expedition which he had 
projected against East Florida, designed to command the con- 
tinental troops and the militia of Georgia himself, to tlie ex- 
clusion of General M'Intosh from the command even of his 
own brigade. 

Just at this period, it became necessary to convene the le- 
gislature for the purpose of organizing the new government 
In consequence of the station which Mr. Gwinnett held as 
president of the council, he was prevented from proceeding 
at the head of the expedition destined against East Florida. 
The troops, therefore, were by his orders placed under the 
command of a subordinate officer of Mcintosh's brigade. The 
expedition entirely failed, and probably contributed to the 
failure of Mr. Gwinnett's election to the office of governor, in 
May, 1777. 

This failure blasted the hopes of Mr. Gwinnett, and brought 
his political career to a close. In the disappointment and 
mortification of his adversary. General M'Intosh foolishly 
exulted. The animosity between these two distinguished 
men, from this time, continued to. gather strength, until Mr. 
Gwinnett, unmindful of the high offices which he had held, 
of his obligations to society, and of his paramount obligations 
to the author of his being, presented a challenge to General 
M'Intosh. They fought at the distance of only twelve feet 
Both were severely wounded. The wound of Mr. Gwinnett 
proved mortal ; and on the 27th of May, 1777, in the forty- 
fifth year of his age, he expired. 

Thus fell one of the patriots of the revolution ; and though 
entitled to the gratitude of his country, for the services which 
he rendered her, her citizens will ever lament that he fell a 
victim to a false ambition, and to a false sense of honour. No 
circumstances could justify an action so criminal, none can 
ever palliate one so dishonourable. 

In his person, Mr. Gwinnett was tall, and of noble and 
commanding appearance. In his temper, he was